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Calexico, the New York–based Mexican food favorite, has signed a major master franchise deal for the UAE and Bahrain. The brand has been expanding through a combination of company- and franchise-owned stores in the U.S., and will now follow in the footsteps of other high-profile fast-casual concepts that have found success in the Middle East markets.
Calexico has three brick-and-mortar stores open in Brooklyn, three New York City–area street carts, a vendor unit in the state-of-the-art Barclays Center, and a new franchised store open on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. It also has multiunit development deals signed for Manhattan, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Queens/Long Island.
The new partners, who worked with Fransmart senior director of development Ryan Durishin on the agreement, has signed on to be the area developer for both the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, and has committed to open at least 15 stores in the territories.
Calexico began as a simple street cart, but started on the road toward brick-and-mortar success after winning the coveted Vendy Award in 2008. This was followed by an appearance on The Martha Stewart Show’s “I Love NY” TV special, and then being named Zagat’s Top Mexican Restaurant in New York City. The brand continues to open more locations to serve its growing customer base, and will continue expanding into select U.S. and international markets.
Calexico is working with Fransmart, the development company behind the explosive growth of brands such as Five Guys Burgers and Fries and Qdoba Mexican Grill, to expand on its footprint across the U.S.