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SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Liz McMillan, Esmeralda Swartz, Hovhannes Avoyan, Elizabeth White, Adrian Bridgwater

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Three Chicago Legends Unite as Mike Ditka Joins Al's Beef and Nancy's Pizza as New Spokesperson

Al's Beef and Nancy's Pizza Restaurants Expand Chicago Reach With New Franchise Location and Introduce New Branding and Menu Items as Franchises Expand to New Audiences

CHICAGO, IL -- (Marketwired) -- 05/13/14 -- Three Chicago legends unite as Al's Beef and Nancy's Pizza announced today that they recruited and signed Chicago sports legend, Mike Ditka, famed coach, football player and television commentator, to join the companies' team. Ditka is the first official spokesperson for the two iconic restaurant brands, as they ramp up for franchise expansion into new markets and launch fresh new store designs across the country.

"Al's Beef and Nancy's Pizza are Chicago legends in a city so close to my heart after being here for many years, and I couldn't be more excited to support their growth and expansion," said Mike Ditka. "There is nothing quite like Al's original authentic dipped Italian Beef sandwich or the original stuffed pizza filled with cheese and every topping imaginable from Nancy's. Are you hungry yet?"

Mike Ditka will be involved as a spokesperson for Chicago Franchise Systems, Inc, the parent company of Al's Beef and Nancy's Pizza. The Coach will be incorporated into many efforts for both brands, including new branding at the store level, advertising, public relations and marketing efforts. Chicago Franchise Systems is scouting future locations across the country to open Al's Beef and Nancy's Pizza Restaurants with the Coach and his team.

"We are thrilled to bring Mike Ditka into the Al's Beef and Nancy's Pizza family as he truly embodies Chicago where our brands were born," said Dave Howey, president of Chicago Franchise Systems, Inc. "This partnership marks the beginning of some very exciting changes and initiatives that we'll be rolling out over the coming months to support the continued growth of Al's Beef and Nancy's Pizza."

Beefin' Things Up for Al's Beef

What started as a family food stand in Chicago in 1938, Al's Beef has expanded to 17 restaurant locations in Illinois, California and Nevada with plans slated for new franchise location openings in Chicago, Dallas and beyond. This month, Al's Beef will open a new restaurant in downtown Chicago at 234 S. Wabash Street at Jackson Street, offering an example of what's to come with new restaurants boasting a new slimmed down modern look, new branding, local delivery, and refreshed menu featuring Al's mouth-watering Italian Beef sandwiches, hot dogs, its signature homemade fries and more. In addition, visitors to the Al's Beef website will notice a total new look in the coming months, with an online ordering option. Al's will also be launching a new mobile app on both iOS and Android platforms where customers can order on the go.

A Bigger Piece of the Pie for Nancy's Pizza

For more than four decades, Nancy's Pizza has been a Chicago favorite, featuring an original family recipe that has been named Chicago's best pizza time and time again. The franchise has expanded to more than 30 locations in Chicagoland and Atlanta, with plans to open new franchise restaurants this year in Texas, California, Georgia and beyond. When visiting select Nancy's Pizza carry out and delivery locations in the coming months, guests will experience a new look and feel. The company is launching a new fast casual restaurant with updated menu offerings, including Neapolitan pizza, beer and wine, all served in a new sleek décor. In addition, the Nancy's Pizza website will receive a refresh to help customers plan for their next pizza experience at Nancy's. And, for those who are always on the move, Nancy's Pizza is going mobile with a new mobile app for both iOS and Android platforms that is in the works.

For more information about Al's Beef and Nancy's Pizza, please visit www.alsbeef.com and www.nancyspizza.com. For more information on franchising opportunities, please contact Dan Perillo at 708.478.8440.

ABOUT AL'S BEEF
Al's Beef, founded in 1938, is an iconic sandwich destination regarded for having one of the "Best Italian Beef Sandwiches" in America. From the Food Network to TODAY Show to Chicago magazine to the Travel Channel, Al's Beef has shared its passion for Italian sandwiches with the world, now boasting 17 franchise restaurant locations throughout Illinois, California and Nevada. It all started with a small neighborhood sandwich stand in Chicago's "Little Italy," and Al's Beef gradually grew into its first Chicago storefront at 1079 W. Taylor Street, which still stands today. Purchased in 1999 by Chicago Franchise Systems, Inc., Al's Beef Restaurants have grown significantly with no plans of slowing down, looking to bring its famed Chicago cuisine to new markets across the nation. For more information about Al's Beef, please visit www.alsbeef.com.

ABOUT NANCY'S PIZZA
Nancy's Pizza, founded in 1971, and the inventors of "stuffed pizza," is often regarded as "Chicago's Best Pizza" from Chicago magazine to Pizza Today. The birthplace of stuffed pizza started as a family-owned business in Chicago. In 1990, Chicago Franchise Systems, Inc. purchased the rights to Nancy's Pizza and has expanded the restaurant chain from Chicago to Atlanta and coming soon to California. Today, the restaurant features more than 30 franchise locations featuring its delicious, signature pizzas and more. For more information about Nancy's Pizza, please visit www.nancyspizza.com.

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