Less than a month after Barberitos celebrated the chain’s 20th anniversary with an event in its hometown of Athens, Georgia, the restaurant industry was devastated by the pandemic. Under the leadership and creativity of the chain’s Founder & CEO Downing Barber, Barberitos, quickly shifted its focus to discover ways to be resilient and innovate in support of its franchisees, as well as to ensure the safety of its team members and guests. A full marketing plan was also developed to ensure a successful summer. The popular fast-casual Southwestern Grille and Cantina has 50 locations across the Southeast.

“The Barberitos franchisees are my extended family, and we are in this together,” says Downing Barber, Barberitos founder & CEO. “Having spent most of my life serving food and entertaining others, I am committed to continuing to do so in the safest manner possible. The Barberitos team was determined to be creative to get through this time, and I think that’s what allowed us to keep our doors open during this difficult time.”

As the COVID-19 virus pandemic progressed, Barberitos Franchining Inc. (BFI) took immediate action:

Franchisee Support – Offered everything from fee reductions to a sounding board for best practices, as well as the development and promotion of new menu items, hours, delivery, etc. 

Safety Initiatives – Instituted numerous proactive steps as recommended by the CDC and FDA.

Curbside Pickup – Added to mobile app and website as an additional pickup option to guests.

Delivery Services – Partnered with Door Dash to offer no delivery charges for two months.

Promotions – Launched a “TacoBout Family Takeout” meal at many of its locations, which provided all the fresh ingredients needed to prepare meals at home.

Hospital Feed Programs – Secured corporate support or guest donations to provide free meals to first responders throughout different communities.

Updated Marketing Plan – Transitioning to a bright future by focusing on the Colors of Summer and incorporating tie-dye t-shirts and ESPN broadcaster & former NFL player David Pollack.

Barberitos is a Southwestern Grille dedicated to serving farm-fresh, high-quality food in a fast-casual restaurant environment. Many of the restaurants’ menu items are prepared or cooked in-house daily, including hand-smashed guacamole, homemade salsas, fresh-cut vegetables, as well as chicken, steak, turkey, tofu, pork, fish, rice and beans.

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