With nine restaurants currently open and operating in Connecticut and New York, and a 10th under construction, Salsa Fresca Mexican Grill has set its sights on further expansion along the east coast. Company plans call for opening as many as 100 corporate and franchisee-owned stores over the next five years.
Targeted markets include Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Florida.
“There’s no denying that out of all the restaurant industry’s different sub-categories, Mexican food franchises are outperforming all other types of restaurants and fast food franchises,” says Seth Hirschel, co-founder of Salsa Fresca Mexican Grill, noting that the Mexican menu type generates approximately $45 billion in annual retail sales. “Salsa Fresca’s uniquely fresh, flavorful and customizable dining experience has always been popular in every one of our locations, and we're looking forward to bringing this new concept to even more communities across the country."
Founded in 2008, Salsa Fresca Mexican Grill is similar to Chipotle, in that they offer burritos, bowls and tacos, but the menu is a little more expansive. The menu is comprised of various “signature” items, but also allows customers to “build their own” with top-quality ingredients that are prepared fresh, onsite, every day. Customers can fill their burritos, tacos, quesadillas, nachos, salads or bowls with chicken, shredded beef, ground beef, pork, roasted veggies or rajas (peppers and onions), and can add-in rice, black beans, cheese, guacamole and more. Additionally, the menu features vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free and nut free options.
“With no freezers and all food prepared onsite, we offer a fresh approach to fast-casual Mexican. We serve fresh food you can trust,” adds Hirschel.
Another of the restaurant’s core values is a commitment to the earth. Eco-friendly building materials are used to build the restaurants, along with energy-efficient HVAC systems and lighting. In addition, everything from the plates and bowls to the utensil and straws are made from plant-based materials that decompose at the landfill. Salsa Fresca also recycles its cooking oil and is working on a composting program.
"There have been so many different factors in our success, all of which have appealed to a wide range of loyal fans, from students, to families, working professionals, and even seniors," says the company’s national director of franchising Lynette McKee. “The response at all nine of our locations has been so overwhelming, and we're seeing constant interest from patrons who want to enjoy our fresh foods in other locations, too. It's time for the next step, and our franchise program will finally meet that incredible demand as we expand to a hundred stores over the next five years."
Including a $30,000 franchise fee, the total initial investment necessary to open a single location ranges from $335,500 to $532,000. Each restaurant typically occupies 1,600-2,000 square feet of real estate space, includes seating for approximately 40 guests, and employs 15-18 part- and full-time employees.