QDOBA Mexican Eats announced a focused franchise initiative targeting key U.S. markets. The strategy focuses on building out regions across the country, including Arizona, Southern California, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Texas, New England, Pennsylvania, and New England.
Backed by 25 years of proven success and more than 730 restaurants open today in the United States and Canada, QDOBA is already working with several experienced franchisee groups interested in major markets.
“We are in a fantastic position to be aggressive with our franchise growth strategy,” says Keith Guilbault, CEO at QDOBA. “QDOBA has carved out its place in the growing fast-casual space, offering a flavorful menu and a business model well suited for off-premises, at a more affordable investment than a traditional [quick-service restaurant].”
Founded in 1995, QDOBA remains focused on freshly prepared, flavorful food made in-house. QDOBA’s menu is filled with fresh ingredients that keeps customers satisfied while allowing for efficient inventory management. Additionally, construction and build out costs are highly competitive with competing fast-casual concepts.
“We’re a nimble brand that has proven to adapt to evolving consumer needs quickly. We offer a series of formats including restaurants equipped with drive-thrus, pick-up windows, and dedicated curbside pick-up areas,” says Tim Welsh, chief development officer at QDOBA. “We see this continuing to be a strong suit for us in the future.”
In recent years, QDOBA set the stage for continued growth. It has hired nearly 100 corporate employees at its new San Diego headquarters, established a more distinctive brand identity and expanded its menu innovation.
Momentum is on the fast-casual concept’s side as its customer base and footprint alike continue to grow: QDOBA will open more than 30 restaurants this year. Since the onset of the pandemic, QDOBA has continued to prioritize growth, with 15 openings since mid-March. The brand is planning for more than 15 new stores to open between September and the end of the year, including San Diego.
In March, QDOBA responded rapidly to the developing pandemic and dedicated resources to supporting franchisees with temporary royalty relief. For customers, it moved to limited-contact ordering, including digital ordering through QDOBA.com or the QDOBA app, in-restaurant to-go ordering and delivery via third-party providers. The early pivots worked — today more Americans are likely to purchase from QDOBA than they were at the onset of the pandemic, according to an independent study by YouGov. Additionally, well-timed investments in a robust digital platform have helped sustain its off-premises business in recent months.
Further differentiating the QDOBA franchise opportunity is its flexible footprint options that allow the brand to work well in a variety of traditional and nontraditional venues. With several dayparts, broad consumer appeal, a strong catering and off-premises business, franchisees are set-up for sustained success. Furthermore, QDOBA’s streamlined and efficient buildouts reduce development costs for its franchisees.
As QDOBA continues to expand throughout the United States, it is actively seeking qualified multi-unit and multi-segment groups with experience in development strategy and focused on diversifying with a bold concept.