Cafe Rio Mexican Grill, home of the original Sweet Pork Barbacoa, is continuing to expand its footprint in the U.S., reporting five-year growth of over 50 percent. The popular fast casual restaurant chain specializing in Mexican cuisine first opened in Utah in 1997 and has continued to grow its portfolio across eleven states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Maryland, Montana, Nevada, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming. By the end of 2023, the company is expected to open six additional locations, bringing the restaurant chain’s total to 163 locations.
One reason for the successful growth rate has been Cafe Rio’s investment in technology. During the past two years, the brand has introduced Digital Cafés, which put technology at the center of the consumer experience, while reducing construction costs. Featuring a traditional drive-thru, digital kiosk ordering in-store, and mobile app ordering available for pick-up in-store or curbside, the Digital Café concept allows consumers to select their preferred ordering channel and gives them an opportunity to bypass the line.
“We’re proud of our continued growth, and excited to be adding new technology and more locations in communities throughout the U.S.,” comments Steve Vaughan, CEO of Cafe Rio Mexican Grill. “The newer digital format restaurants are seeing average unit volumes exceed traditional format volumes by almost 20 percent. By the end of 2023, Cafe Rio will have a total of thirteen locations that feature the digital ordering kiosks. Our goal is to offer consumers more flexibility and opportunities to enjoy our fresh, award-winning, and flavor-packed recipes, which in turn, creates opportunities for our team members to advance their careers with Café Rio.”
The six new locations opening in the second half of 2023 will be coming to Arizona, Idaho, Utah, and Nevada. Each new location will celebrate with a grand opening event, offering a variety of food and product giveaways, games, and sweet deals for fans to enjoy. As many as 100 winners at each location could receive a free meal! During these events, Cafe Rio will also be offering chips & queso for $1.99.
On July 14, Cafe Rio celebrated two grand openings, the first at 140 N. Highbrook Way in Star, Idaho. After two successful openings in Meridian in the spring of 2022, this location will expand Cafe Rio’s Boise metro area footprint westward. The second grand opening in mid-July will be 2712 N. Scottsdale Rd. in Scottsdale, Arizona. This opening marks the third Cafe Rio serving the community of Scottsdale. These two new locations will feature traditional dine-in, in-app ordering, curbside pick-up, and a drive-thru. The third location will open a week later on July 21, and will be located at 815 E. Lake Mead Pkwy in Cadence, Nevada’s newest master planned community in the heart of Henderson, just outside of Las Vegas. This location will feature the Digital Café footprint, which includes a drive-thru and digital ordering kiosks. On the heels of the three July openings, Utah will celebrate its 50th location opening on August 4th in Millcreek at 4764 Highland Drive.