Puerto Rico–based El Meson Sandwiches, the island’s largest and fastest growing local chain restaurant, will open the first of five planned restaurants in Orlando, Florida, in June. The chain, ranked as one of the best restaurant chains in the world by Travel + Leisure, will focus on its Caribbean-inspired grilled sandwiches made with artisan bread and its 100 percent Arabica coffee. El Meson will also offer customers its popular all-day breakfast and healthy vegetarian options.
“We chose to launch in Orlando because of the deep customer service talent pool that exists thanks to tourism,” says El Meson President Felipe Pérez-Grajales, a graduate from Jacksonville University. “Orlando also gives us access to a diverse local population in addition to a steady stream of tourists, allowing many people to discover our brand.”
El Meson, which currently has 36 locations in Puerto Rico, attributes its ongoing growth to quality ingredients which are prepared fresh in store, and its “customers are family” approach to service. The El Meson team plans to apply these same best practices as it enters the U.S. market.
“While this is our first location in the U.S., we have a long history of serving Americans. Our first restaurant was opened in a Puerto Rican beach town which catered to U.S. military,” Pérez says. “We know our flavors have mass appeal, and we expect to compete well with all fast-casual sandwich chains in the segment.”
The first of five El Meson locations in Orlando will open June 1, in Florida Mall’s new dining pavilion. Two standalone locations are slotted to open over the next 12 months.