Tavistock Restaurants signed another franchisee for its fast-growing, fast-casual FREEBIRDS World Burrito brand. Mark McKay and Chris Beck-McKay of MC Food Service LLC committed to build 10 locations in Utah, beginning with Salt Lake City. Tavistock Restaurants signed its first development agreement for FREEBIRDS last year with FB Midwest, which now has five locations in Kansas and Missouri.

MC Food Service has more than 35 years’ experience with McDonald’s, first in the Seattle-Tacoma market and then Salt Lake City. They recently sold their last six McDonald’s locations, but continued to seek restaurant opportunities.

The MC Food Service team was drawn to the unique way FREEBIRDS does business. FREEBIRDS has developed a cult following for its freshly prepared burritos, burrito bowls, salads, nachos, and more. The restaurants make virtually everything from scratch, which is one of the reasons why FREEBIRDS earned its tag line of “It’s Not Normal.” Guests are provided one-to-one service by a “Roller” who helps hand-craft their individual burrito by choosing from more than 40 ingredients including grass-fed beef, hormone-free chicken, all-natural pork carnitas, hand-cut veggies and hot peppers, plus house-made salsas, queso, and guacamole. Guests choose from four sizes of burrito—the Hybird, the original Freebird, the Monster, or the Super Monster.

The concept’s philosophy is all about providing “Freedom of Choice.” The restaurants feature the iconic Statue of Liberty—affectionately known as ‘Libby’—riding a custom-built motorcycle while breaking through the Freedom Wall, holding a foil-wrapped burrito. The restaurant has a free-spirited ambience with a rock soundtrack, reminiscent of a late-'60s rock 'n' roll roadhouse. 

“FREEBIRDS is exciting, energetic, fun,” Beck-McKay says. “Everything I researched about the company got me excited, from the quality of the food, to the customization, to the people. It’s the whole package. We have nothing like it and we think people are hungry for it here in Utah.”

“Any restaurant with a Harley coming out of the wall is just cool,” says McKay, who, along with Beck-McKay, is a Harley Davidson enthusiast. “Also, the food is awesome. There are no freezers, the food is fresh food you can be proud of. It’s what Millennials desire. The potential is huge.”

“We love and certainly share the passion the McKays have for FREEBIRDS,” says Tavistock Restaurants CEO Bryan Lockwood. “We are confident in this partnership and look forward to adding more franchise partners with extensive operations experience in the near future.”

MC Food Service LLC identified and is actively pursuing six locations. They anticipate their first FREEBIRDS opening by the end of the year.

Denise Lee Yohn: QSR's Marketing Guru, Growth, News, Freebirds World Burrito