While Costa Vida Fresh Mexican Grill continues to gain popularity throughout the country as consumers focus on clean eating habits, the company is responding to this increased demand for healthy quick-service cuisine with franchise expansion into new markets like the greater Vancouver, Canada–Washington area and parts of Portland, Ore.

The local entrepreneurs introducing the franchise concept to the area are Kevin Hepner, Brad Hoffman, and Vancouver native, Scott Dickinson. With plans to open the first three Costa Vida franchise locations in the greater Vancouver area by 2017, the business partners are confident in the local reception of the new restaurant to the area.

“Costa Vida is a brand devoted to promoting healthy lifestyle choices, offering customizable menu options featuring real food with natural and fresh ingredients that people recognize and can relate to,” says Dickinson, a lifelong Vancouver resident and veteran of the restaurant industry. “We are confident that the cuisine and atmosphere we are bringing to the area with Costa Vida is something that our family, friends, neighbors, and community will not only enjoy but prefer over many of the current alternatives. As consumers in the area ourselves, we know that the values driven through Costa Vida’s pride in education, transparency, and a menu of fresh Mexican cuisine, will be appreciated by the Vancouver and Portland locals alike.”

The recent multi-unit agreement for three additional locations to the 68-unit franchise system will make Washington home to 10 Costa Vida locations. Currently, Washington hosts two locations in the Spokane area, three locations in the Kennewick-Richland area, and one location in the Seattle area with a second coming soon. New locations in areas of Portland will be Costa Vida’s first in the state of Oregon, which is supplemental to an additional area agreement for five locations in West Portland.

Like many Costa Vida franchisees, Dickinson, Hepner, and Hoffman were first drawn to the investment opportunity after they fell in love with the food and brand as consumers. The group spent a few years researching the opportunity, then made the decision to invest in a multi-unit agreement to introduce the fresh Mexican grill to the market they know so well.

Dickinson brings with him decades of experience in the restaurant industry including a recent 29 years with KFC. A multi-unit operator, he recently sold his KFC locations prior to investing in Costa Vida. His partners, Hepner and Hoffman, both bring impressive experience in real estate development— a great asset in franchising. Hepner spent the last 15 years in real estate and is the current owner and CEO of multiple real estate development and retail companies. Hoffman spent 10 years in public accounting before moving into the real estate space as the CFO of multiple real estate development and retail companies, as well.

“As consumer behavior continues to shift towards clean eating habits and having the ability to customize your order based on personal preference or dietary restrictions, the appeal and popularity of Costa Vida continues to grow with both consumers and investors,” says Sean Collins, CEO of Costa Vida Fresh Mexican Grill. “Our three partners in the Vancouver area, Scott, Kevin, and Brad, are not only veterans of the industry, but true fans of the brand. Each with a unique ability to help establish and grow the franchise presence in Vancouver and areas of Portland, we are privileged to have them join the Costa Vida family.”

Growing through multi-unit agreements, Costa Vida Fresh Mexican Grill is planning continued expansion in Dallas, Houston, Nashville, Tenn., Tampa, Fla., Boise, Idaho, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Sacramento, Calif., Phoenix, Tucson, Ariz., Denver, Atlanta, Fla., Orlando, and Washington DC. Projected to open 25 new locations throughout new and existing markets in 2015, Costa Vida is already on track to continued steady growth with additional recent agreements in Tucson, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Boise, Denver, Sacramento, and Tampa. Expanding in key high-growth markets, Costa Vida’s development strategy is largely focused on unit-level economics.

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