SOURCE: Market Pulse

February 05, 2008 08:45 ET

Market Pulse Breaking News Alert for Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2008: SPKL - Spicy Pickle™ Announces a 10 Store Franchise Agreement in Houston and Brings Total Number Sold Up to 123!

NOTE TO EDITORS: The Following Is an Investment Opinion Being Issued by Market Pulse.

ATLANTA, GA--(Marketwire - February 5, 2008) - Market Pulse News Alert for this AM, Stocks to Watch are: Spicy Pickle Franchising, Inc. (OTCBB: SPKL), Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK), Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) and Sigmatel Inc. (NASDAQ: SGTL).

Investors need to be watching Spicy Pickle Franchising, Inc. (OTCBB: SPKL) this AM! Spicy Pickle™ is engaged in the business of marketing, franchising and operating Spicy Pickle restaurants located throughout the United States. Spicy Pickle™ is a fast casual restaurant where fresh, made-to-order culinary-inspired panini, submarine style sandwiches, pizzetti (Neapolitan thin crust gourmet pizza), salads and soups with a large international variety of toppings and spreads are served using fresh baked breads and high quality ingredients. Spicy Pickle™ locations and marketing efforts are directed principally to white collar administrative, managerial, professional, and sales personnel who are willing to pay a little more for better flavor profiles. The company's menu items appeal to diners of all ages and preferences and will soon accommodate breakfast and dinner segments. Spicy Pickle™ recently added its new catering program, featuring the chain's culinary-inspired subs and panini sandwiches. Spicy Pickle™ is a unique franchise opportunity. The company offers franchise agreements for single and multiple store owners but prefers single franchisees that can develop multiple stores in their market. These franchisees sign development agreements for multiple stores in a defined geographic area and grant them the exclusive rights to the development area. These include agreements for developers that plan on owning and operating a large number of restaurants over a larger territory (state or larger). The company has sold 123 franchises and developments. Of the franchises sold, 36 restaurants are opened and operating, 8 restaurants are under construction, and there are over 70 more sites that are under area development agreements. The company continues to interview prospective franchisees and relies on the cash deposits from the franchise sales as well as royalty fees from the existing stores to support the expenses of the business. The $70 billion fast-casual segment of the restaurant industry is growing fast. Spicy Pickle Franchising is well-positioned to continue to grow their market position in existing and new markets. Spicy Pickle Franchising, Inc. has sufficient capital to carry it forward as they have recently raised $4.5 million. The company's five year plan includes opening 300 stores. The company would like to see more development areas like the one in Indianapolis that includes 10 stores or the one in southern California that includes 12 stores. The royalties create a continuous revenue stream and shareholder wealth. A significant amount of value is created for the company with each new franchise added. Spicy Pickle™ is poised to become a significant player in the fast-casual segment of the restaurant industry! Spicy Pickle™ just had excellent news out in a press release after Monday's bell announcing the sale of a multi unit restaurant development for Houston, TX, bringing the total number of franchises sold up to 123! This could be great news for investors!

Spicy Pickle™ fast casual restaurants (OTCBB: SPKL) announced the sale of a multi unit restaurant development for Houston, TX, bringing the total number of franchises sold up to 123.

The development agreement includes the greater Metropolitan Houston area including Sugar Land and calls for a total of ten (10) Spicy Pickle™ restaurants over the next several years.

Marc Geman, CEO of Spicy Pickle Franchising, Inc. commented, "We continue to have a lot of interest in Texas and already have two successful restaurants in Austin with a third under construction. Texas can support a large number of stores and demographically contains a huge population base of our ideal customers. We have interest from Dallas and San Antonio, and expect Texas to be a large, if not the largest state outside of Colorado in numbers of Spicy Pickle™ restaurants."

Mr. Geman further commented, "Our new franchisee formerly operated a chain of funeral homes. While it may seem like an odd transition, there are in fact many similarities. Both business models are very customer service orientated. Our franchisee understands the competitive landscape of retail business. Having already operated a very successful chain, they are very well financed. They understand local marketing and have their staff working in the fast casual restaurant segment. They will be in a position to open restaurants as quickly as we can find suitable real estate. Our demographic program has already developed a model Spicy Pickle™ restaurant location to work in the Houston market."

In combination with the 3 corporate stores and the 123 franchises sold to date, Spicy Pickle™ now has commitments for 126 units in total of which 36 are currently open.

About Spicy Pickle™:

Founded in 1999, Spicy Pickle Franchising, Inc. serves high quality meats and fine artisan breads, baked fresh daily, along with a wide choice of eight different cheeses, twenty-two different toppings, and fourteen proprietary spreads to create healthy and delicious panini and sub sandwiches with flavors from around the world. As a leading "fast-casual" concept, Spicy Pickle™ offers menu items that are far beyond traditional fast food -- but without the price point of casual dining. The hallmark of a Spicy Pickle™ restaurant is quality, service and an enjoyable atmosphere. The company is headquartered in Denver, Colorado, with franchised locations now open across nine states and many more in development nationwide. For more about Spicy Pickle™, including franchise information and inquiries, visit http://www.spicypickle.com.

Stocks in the news and acting well as of late include: Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK), Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) and Sigmatel Inc. (NASDAQ: SGTL).

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You should be aware that MP is often compensated for issuing analyses, recommendations or opinions concerning particular companies. Its opinion is therefore not unbiased and you should consider this factor when evaluating MP's statements regarding a company. MP has been compensated thirty thousand dollars from Spicy Pickle Franchising, Inc. In addition, MP has been compensated three hundred thousand restricted shares of Spicy Pickle Franchising, Inc. from the company. In 2006, MP acquired two hundred thousand shares of Spicy Pickle Franchising, Inc. directly from the company in a private offering for fifty thousand dollars. These shares were subsequently included in a registration statement filed by the company with the SEC. To date, MP has sold two hundred thousand shares of stock in Spicy Pickle Franchising, Inc. for proceeds totaling one hundred ninety thousand seven hundred dollars. MP's officers and directors reserve the right to buy additional shares of the companies discussed in this opinion and may profit in the event those shares rise in value. When MP receives free trading shares as compensation for a profiled company, MP may sell part or all of any such shares during the period in which MP is performing such services. Market-Pulse.com and Market Pulse Breaking News Alert are owned by Market Pulse LLC.

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