How He's Starting Over with Salsarita's

When Phil Friedman stepped down as CEO of McAlister’s Deli, a sandwich concept based in Ridgeland, Mississippi, that he grew from 30 to almost 300 locations during his 11-year tenure, many of his friends and colleagues assumed the 65-year-old industry veteran had retired.

“Most of the people were asking, ‘How’s retirement?’” Friedman says. “I’m not retired.”

Salsarita's New Growth Strategy

New CEO Phil Friedman says he will grow Salsarita’s presence in existing markets rather than expand to new territories.

A week after the announcement that he’d acquired Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina, former McAlister’s Deli CEO Phil Friedman says his plan for the fast casual is to saturate its existing markets.

Friedman says his strategy is to “exploit” Salsarita’s presence in the Southeastern U.S., where the majority of the chain’s 80 stores are located.

“We want to create even greater brand awareness and brand commitment in our existing markets,” says Friedman, who purchased Salsarita’s from founder Bruce Willette for an undisclosed amount.

Former McAlister's CEO Friedman Buys Salsarita's

Industry veteran Phil Friedman acquired the Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina fast-casual Mexican restaurant chain. Salsarita’s will be owned by Salsarita’s Holdings LLC, a company formed and controlled by Friedman, who serves as CEO. Larry Reinstein will join Salsarita’s Holdings as president and chief operating officer.

Could a Salt Mandate Be Next?

Restaurants are doing all they can to stop federal regulations of salt from becoming a reality. But is it working?

With the release of an Institute of Medicine (IOM) report recommending the government regulate the amount of sodium in the nation’s food supply, the restaurant industry says it wants to take action—on its own.

“The industry supports a voluntary, incremental approach to reducing sodium levels in menu items, and would have concerns about any potential government mandate that creates a one-size-fits-all rule to ingredient standards,” the National Restaurant Association said in an April 20 statement, released the same day as the IOM report.

Health Care Passed. Now What?

Despite opposition from industry leaders, health care reform is here and has many wondering what the legislation means for their restaurants.

Now that health care reform has passed in Washington, despite opposition from the National Restaurant Association (NRA) and other business interests, quick-service operators across the country are trying to figure out how the bill will impact them.

But after a year of hyper-partisan legislative combat, many are confused about what is in the 1,990-page bill President Obama signed on March 23, and anxiety is running high.

“There’s an underlying fear about the unknown in the bill and how it’s going to affect us,” says Mike Stimola, CEO of Sandella’s Flatbread Café.