In his research, one Quaker Steak & Lube restaurant executive found out that people in Colorado like to eat out.

“Restaurant Management magazine named Colorado in the top 10 places to start a restaurant,” said Zeb Hastings, Quaker Steak & Lube vice president of franchise development.

So for the first time in the company’s history, Quaker Steak  & Lube executives are making a concerted play in Colorado, advertising specifically to find franchisees. Typically, the company would let interested franchisees find them, Hastings said.

“This is our first focus market,” he said. “This is our first focused market to try to and bring in good franchisees into the business.”

The casual-dining franchise Quaker Steak & Lube has restaurants in 30 cities, including one in the Denver area that opened in 2010. The company would like to open one or two more restaurants in either Colorado Springs or Denver in the near future, Hastings said.

Hastings is coming to Colorado June 26 and 27 to meet with prospective franchisees. The company is on its way to doubling its current footprint of more than 50 restaurants, he said.

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Quaker Steak & Lube was founded in 1974 in an abandoned gas station in Sharon, Penn. It started selling franchises in the late 1990s. Now, it is among the fastest-growing restaurant chains in the country, Hastings said. The company opened six restaurants in 2011 and signed franchise agreements to develop more than 35 locations in the U.S.  during the next several years.

“If we could find the right partner (in Colorado Springs), someone as passionate about the business as we are, we are ready to move as soon as they are,” Hastings said.

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