Baja Fresh

Playing with Fire

If there’s one sure sign of summer, it’s the sight of smoke rising and smell of food cooking from backyard grills. Grilling, in its most basic form, is as old as humans’ taming of fire. The concept of having structures hold food above the flames came along later.

Today, flame grilling is a method used by a number of restaurant operators to provide a particular taste that differentiates them from their competitors.

QSR 50 Contenders

Want to know which 15 brands are knocking on the QSR 50's door? Some are old favorites, others are new to the list, but they're all trying their hardest to climb their way into the Top 50 ranks.

51 McAlister’s Deli rank last year: 52

Baja Fresh Parent Company Ends Use of Gestation Crates

Fresh Enterprises, LLC, owner of the Baja Fresh, La Salsa Mexican Grill, and Canyon’s Burger restaurant concepts, announced that it supports industry efforts to move away from gestation crates, and is committed to purchasing pork only from suppliers with documented plans to end their use of gestation crates. The three restaurant chains combined have 279 locations worldwide.

Baja Fresh Goes to Los Gatos, CA

Customers will notice a distinctly new interior incorporating the use of natural wood, stone, and warm colors, in addition to a more accommodating seating plan.

Additionally, the menu is designed to incorporate more customization.

First, guests select their choice of protein; fire grilled fresh chicken, steak, shrimp, Wahoo, or lean & slow roasted Pork Carnitas. Next they are offered a choice of a burrito, taco platter, or salad with numerous different flavor and signature recipe styles, with the option to “spice it up” or choose a milder Roasted Tomatillo salsa.

Boardwalk Franchisees Set to Open 120 Locations

Boardwalk Fresh Burgers & Fries has finalized three new master franchise deals with experienced developers for 100 new restaurants across Northern New Jersey, Alabama, Indiana, and Kentucky. The three new development agents will open a mix of franchised and sub-franchised restaurants in their respective territories. The deals are the latest in a series of large, master Boardwalk territories secured by seasoned multi-unit restaurant developers. Boardwalk Fresh Burgers & Fries currently has nine restaurants in seven US states, and more than 300 additional restaurants in development.

Moreton’s View from the Top

The Panera CEO has spent one year at the helm of the fast-casual industry’s biggest company. His one goal? To keep the company on top.

On the evening of May 12, 2010, Bill Moreton and dozens of his Panera Bread colleagues celebrated the career of Ronald Shaich, the bakery-café’s cofounder, departing CEO, and ultimate visionary. For 25 years, Shaich guided Panera’s growth from a 19-unit chain into a fast-casual giant claiming $3 billion in sales.

Like many, Moreton stood at the center of that room in St. Louis and rattled off Shaich stories alongside compliments and gratitude. The room was jovial and celebratory. Moreton didn’t know how different tomorrow’s tone would be.

Get Fresh, Save the Earth

Baja Fresh Mexican Grill, a fast-casual fresh Mexican chain, announced the nationwide rollout of its industry pioneering Earth Fresh Initiative.

In December 2009, Baja Fresh began testing a number of environmentally friendly serving products including: recycled/recyclable paper and plastic bags, unbleached recyclable burrito wrapping paper, and biodegradable plates. After receiving positive feedback from both guests and operators, the chain has moved forward with companywide implementation of the products.