Florida-Based Chain Seeks New Franchisees To Boost Store Count Amid Rising Popularity
Tijuana Flats is the latest Mexican restaurant chain to unveil expansion plans, joining recent announcements by Jack in the Box and Dine Brands Global.
Tijuana Flats wants to open 50 fast-casual restaurants in the southeastern U.S. by 2025, the Maitland, Florida-based company said. It plans to offer financial incentives to lure new franchisees to accelerate the proposed openings.
Mexican cuisine is one of the fastest-growing and most popular segments of the U.S. restaurant industry. The category is forecast to generate $80.3 billion in sales this year and has grown at an average 2.4% yearly rate over the past five years, according to IBISWorld.
Jack in the Box wants to expand its Del Taco chain and Dine Brands Global plans to open more locations of its Fuzzy’s Taco Shop chain, executives with both companies said during recent earnings conference calls.
Tijuana Flats, established in 1995, specializes in the Tex-Mex variation of Mexican cuisine, which features more use of shredded cheese and refried beans than traditional Mexican fare. Its locations also offer wine-based margaritas, sangria and beer.
It currently operates about 130 restaurants in six states, primarily in Florida, and most are company-owned locations. Tijuana Flats will increase franchised locations in its expansion. The average start-up cost for a single Tijuana Flats location ranges from $490,050 to $878,000, according to the company. Its franchise fee is $35,000 and franchisees are required to have $500,000 in liquid capital.
Tijuana Flats is targeting Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee for its new restaurants.
Current locations include Mission Bay Plaza in Boca Raton, Florida; Bay Arbor Place shopping center in Oldsmar, Florida; Cordova Corner in Pensacola, Florida; and Willis Retail Center in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
The company recently announced that Ravi Patel, a Subway franchisee, will open his first location of Tijuana Flats in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, later this year.