Freshii, the pioneering “health-casual” food concept, is continuing rapid growth and has recently signed a major master development deal for the entire country of Colombia. 

With 60 stores in operation and more than 400 in development, it is expanding worldwide with the help of franchise development partner Fransmart, a leader in international franchising that has also brought brands such as Elevation Burger and zpizza to the Middle East. 

With international stores already open in the UAE, Canada, and Austria, this deal will mark its entry into the Latin American market, and the opportunity to seize brand new development territories. 

The brand’s master franchisees for the territory, Carlos Acosta and Jaime Pumarejo, were intrigued by the brand after coming across the “30 Under 30” article in Inc. Magazine, which featured Freshii’s CEO Matthew Corrin.

While discussing what they feel makes Freshii unique, the franchisees say, “We feel strongly that the new trend in food choice is the healthy choice. We are seeing it amongst our generation, and even more in future generations. 

“Schools and government organizations are investing more every day in promoting better nutritional choices, and we believe that the consumer of tomorrow is going to be more focused on a healthy lifestyle,” they continue. “As a brand, Freshii focuses on healthy, fast-casual food, and amongst the other brands with the same focus, Freshii has superior design, ambience, and product mix.”

Acosta graduated from Columbia University in New York, and has more than seven years of experience in the real estate development business as operating vice president for Omega Alpha Development.   

Pumarejo has a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and an MBA from the IE Business School in Madrid, Spain. He is a dedicated entrepreneur with a passion for innovation, and currently serves as the general manager for the Convention Center Complex Development for the city of Barranquilla. 

Both Acosta and Pumarejo share Freshii’s hunger for innovation and feel strongly about the brand’s global growth and its potential in Colombia.

An IFA article from September 2012 says, “According to reports from the U.S. Franchise Trade Mission to Latin America, Bogota’s altitude [of 8,000 feet above sea level] may hint at the heights U.S. franchising can reach in this booming country of more than 46 million.”

Freshii is eager to enter such a solid foreign market, and Corrin is already planning a visit to Colombia the week of October 22 to lend his support to the new area developers and help generate sub-franchisee interest for them. 

Due to the high demand and excitement in the region, Corrin, as well as a representative from Fransmart, will also be meeting with groups in other parts of Latin America wanting to take part in the “good and good-for-you” initiative that Freshii represents, as the 20-unit deal leaves plenty of room for more deals in the region.

The franchisees are currently looking for real estate in the Northern region of Colombia’s capital city of Bogota, and hope to open their first store by the first quarter of 2013. 

Subsequently, they plan to have units open in the cities of Barranquilla, Medellin, Cali, and Cartagena within the next 3–4 years.

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