Barberitos Southwestern Grille and Cantina announced that franchise contracts have been secured for 10 upcoming locations, with multiple other locations on the horizon. Barberitos has 25 restaurants in five states, with 10 more restaurants that will be located in Tennessee, Georgia, North and South Carolina, and Florida. Barberitos’ recent growth spurt will push them to the 35 stores mark in 2012 for the Athens, Georgia–based franchise.

“I opened Barberitos out of passion, a love for cooking, and fulfilling a life-long dream,” says Downing Barber, who opened the first Barberitos in downtown Athens in 2000. “I would have never thought that so many people could love our food. I am truly thankful to everyone who makes it happen.”

Despite the tough economy, Barberitos has seen a 15.8% increase in system wide sales this year from 2010. Same store sales are up by 10.17% from 2010. As sales increase, requests for franchise consideration seem to increase also.

As for the increased growth, Barber says, “We are truly excited about what is going on inside Barberitos right now. The number and quality of potential business partners that inquire about our system is amazing. We are having a good run through this tough economy.”

“As Barberitos grows, we become that much more passionate about our food and focus that much harder on improving our customers’ experience,” says Barber, who believes that fresh food, a clean restaurant, and great customer service are the keys to success for Barberitos.

Committed to serving “farm fresh” food, Barberitos serves only garden-fresh vegetables, which are delivered to stores and hand-cut daily. Juicy whole chicken breasts, high quality cuts of steak, and choice ground beef are all-natural, and grilled fresh daily, too. Barberitos’ salsas, guacamole, hot sauces, meat marinades, and salad dressings are made from scratch daily. The restaurants are not equipped with freezers or microwaves as all food is prepared fresh, with no fats or preservatives added at the time of preparation. It has been popular among vegetarians and those who want gluten-free options.

Each menu offering is prepared at the time it is ordered right in front of the customer. Barberitos’ “7 Under 7” menu features seven items each under seven grams of fat, including a mini grilled chicken burrito, jerk fish taco, and a variety of salads.

Barberitos now has 35 restaurant franchise locations in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Florida.

Denise Lee Yohn: QSR's Marketing Guru, Growth, News, Barberitos