JAE team

Our Story

JAE Restaurant Group looks back on an eventful past which has seen spectacular highlights, starting with its founders Jhonny Mercado, Andres Garcia, and Eddie Rodriguez.  While each of them had their own path in the beginning, their journeys eventually crossed paths.  As destiny would have it, they would become JAE Restaurant Group in 2014.  However, their story is one that predates back to as early as 1993 in the Wendy’s System.

Eddie Rodriguez started his Wendy’s career in 1993 and was Co-founder of Bal-Rod Enterprises with Sergio Balsinde.  It was then that Eddie opened his 1st Restaurant in Hialeah, FL. Eddie was passive in the Business until 2000 when he and Sergio decided to grow the Business and by the end of the year were Operating 5 Restaurants out of Miami, FL. In 2001 Bal-Rod expanded into Broward County and acquired 4 Restaurants bringing their total to 9 Restaurants.  In 2002 Bal-Rod continued to expand now with the purchase of 5 Restaurants out of Orlando, FL.  By the end of 2002, with addition on new build Restaurants, Bal-Rod had grown their portfolio to 18 Restaurants.

Andres Garcia and Jhonny Mercado joined the Wendy’s family in 1998 operating as Franchisees in Venezuela. Jhonny and Andres paths would officially cross in 2007.

Andres and Jhonny, founded JAI International Investment in January 2007, when they acquired their 3 first restaurants in Miami area. Six months later, they bought 2 more. By the end of 2013, JAI International Investment had 37 restaurants located between Miami Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Tampa. In March 2014, JAI International Investment acquired from Wendy’s International 25 restaurants in New Mexico. Becoming a 62 restaurants franchisee.

In August 2014, Eddie, Jhonny and Andres decided to merge their companies. Bal-Rod Enterprises with 13 restaurants and JAI International Investment with 62 became JAE Restaurant Group. Soon after, in November, the group acquired 15 restaurants in El Paso, Texas from another franchisee. By the end of the year, JAE had 92 restaurants now within 3 markets: Florida, New Mexico, and Texas, including 2 new restaurants developed by the Company.

Between 2014 and 2016, JAE Restaurant Group worked diligently to build its 5 Star management team. The company developed and opened 9 more new restaurants within its markets. JAE also achieved to acquire more restaurants from Wendy’s International. In November 2015 the company added 42 restaurants in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, then in August 2016 44 more restaurants in Miami Dade.

2017 was another successful year as JAE Restaurant Group LLC opened 3 restaurants, and in December acquired 34 restaurants in Knoxville, Tennessee, a new market.

JAE Restaurant Group LLC began 2019:

  • 215 restaurants in Florida, New Mexico, Texas, and Tennessee
  • $350 million in annual revenue
  • Among the Top 5 franchisees in the Wendy’s system
  • Ranked as #47 multi-unit franchisee by Mega 99 Rankings
  • Senior leadership team with over 300 years of relevant experience
  • 53 % of its restaurant Image Activated

Looking into the future, JAE plans to continue growing stronger; always committed to have a 5 Star Organization where Employees go First and Positively Delight Every Customer.

  • 1993

    Eddie Rodriguez Opened 1st Restaurant in Hialeah, FL.

  • 1998

    Andres Garcia & Jhonny Mercado joined the Wendy’s Family in Venezuela

  • 2000

    Eddie Rodriguez Operated 5th Restaurant in Miami, FL.

  • 2001

    Eddie Rodriguez Acquired 4 Restaurants out of Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

  • 2002

    Eddie Rodriguez Purchased 5 Restaurants out of Orlando, FL.

  • 2007

    Jhonny Mercado & Andres Garcia acquired 1st 3 Restaurants in Miami, FL. Founded JAI International Investment.

  • 2007

    Jhonny Mercado & Andres Garcia Purchased 2 Additional Restaurants.

  • 2007

    Eddie Rodriguez received the “Wendy” Award for Superior Operations & People Development

  • 2011

    JAI International Investment acquired 14 restaurants in West Palm Beach & Tampa, FL.

  • 2012

    Eddie Rodriguez received the “Wendy’s Founder’s” Award given to a Franchisee who has excelled in Operations, People Development, Reinvestment, & Local Marketing Excellence.

  • 2012

    JAI International Investment acquired 15 restaurants in Miami & Tampa, FL.

  • 2013

    JAI International Investment through New Builds & Acquisitions are Operating 37 Restaurants out of Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, & Tampa

  • 2013

    JAI International Investment developed & opened 2 new restaurants

  • 2013

    JAI International Investment received the Exceptional Employer Award from Florida Governor Rick Scott

  • 2014

    JAI International Investment acquires 25 Restaurants out of Albuquerque, New Mexico

  • 2014

    Jhonny Mercado, Andres Garcia, & Eddie Rodriguez merge companies to become JAE Restaurant Group with 75 Total Restaurants

  • 2014

    JAE acquires 15 Restaurants from El Paso, Texas & including 2 New Builds brings JAE to 92 Restaurants

  • 2015

    JAE acquires 42 additional Restaurants in Ft. Lauderdale & West Palm Beach.

  • 2016

    JAE acquires 44 additional Restaurants in Miami

  • 2017

    JAE acquires 34 Restaurants out of Knoxville, Tennessee.

  • 2019

    JAE acquires 4 new restaurants in Florida

  • 2019

    JAE acquires 13 restaurants in Daytona, Florida

Growth by the Numbers

0 Kid’s Meals Sold

Across All Locations YTD 2019

0 Frosties Served

Across All Locations YTD 2019

0 Smiles Delivered

Across All Locations YTD 2019

Awards & Acknowledgements

“We strive to remain leaders in the nation's evolving quick service restaurant industry by delivering an exceptional experience of quality, service and cleanliness to our customers through high quality food, friendly staff, high operational standards, and being engaged in our communities.” Eddie Rodriguez, Chairman

Company owner photo

Company Founders & Partners

Ed Austin Chief Executive Officer

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Antonett Rodriguez Chief People Officer

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Ben Mansoor Chief Operations Officer

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Kristi Whitaker
Kristi Whitaker Director of Training

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Luis Rivera
Luis Rivera VP of Construction & Facilities

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Michael Rodriguez
Michael Rodriguez VP of Operations Support

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Randy Pianin Chief Financial Officer

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Rob Pham
Rob Pham IT Director

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Fresh Never Frozen Since 1969

“It all comes back to the basics: serve customers the best tasting food at a good value in a clean, comfortable restaurant and they’ll keep coming back”.

– Dave Thomas

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Dave Thomas