Fast-casual restaurant chain Fuzzy’s Taco Shop has signed a 50-store agreement with franchisee Richard Maddox in order to expand its US footprint.

Under the agreement, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop will be opened in new markets, including Alabama, North Carolina and Tennessee, as well as increase its locations in its existing markets of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

Fuzzy’s Taco Shop CEO Paul Damico said: “As we look to add new Fuzzy’s Taco Shop franchisees, we are focused on qualified, experienced restaurant operators who can maintain the integrity of the brand.

“Richard’s experience with fast-casual restaurants and franchised brands makes him exactly the type of franchisee we are looking for.”

The restaurant chain noted that all 50 stores included in the agreement will feature a drive-thru, which is said to be the first for the brand.

Last October, the restaurant company unveiled plans to double the size of the brand over the next five years.

Currently, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop has nearly 150 franchise- and corporate-owned locations across 17 US states.

Maddox plans to start the expansion by opening stores in Auburn, Alabama, and Albany, Georgia, in the first half of this year and intends to open a further four stores by the end of the year.

Maddox said: “I was looking to add a Mexican restaurant brand to my portfolio, and the most important element was to find delicious food that would keep people coming back time and time again.

“The Fuzzy’s Taco Shop corporate team’s growth goals for the brand very much align with what I have planned, so the timing made perfect sense.”