Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

NOV 2017

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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72 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • NOVEMBER 2017 M ost operations don't take the idea of a name change lightly, nor should they. A restaurant's name helps drive brand recognition. More than that, an operation's name serves as an expres- sion of the restaurant's identity — the type of place it strives to be and the experience it wants to provide to guests. Phil Friedman, CEO of Salsarita's and longtime foodser- vice industry veteran, knows this well. Earlier this year, when he changed the name of Salsarita's Fresh Cantina to Salsarita's Fresh Mexican Grill, he knew exactly what he was doing. Looking for Growth Potential Though Salsarita's was founded in 2000, Friedman's time with the chain started when he purchased the business with some investors in July of 2011. Prior to that, he led McAlister's Deli as it grew from 30 to nearly 300 stores. After leaving McAlister's in 2010, Friedman began looking for a new opportunity and quickly came upon Salsarita's. The concept checked all his boxes. "I wanted a relatively small franchise chain in quick casual," Friedman says. "I wanted something that was still founder-owned or early management, so I could hopefully add some value by being part of it. It wasn't so much that I was looking for Mexican, but Mexican made a lot of sense. [The sector] continues to grow, it has a ton of flexibility in terms of menu development. While we were a very small player, and still are a very small player in the category, I looked at Salsarita's as having a lot of growth potential." SALSARITA'S GOES FRESH MEX ALL AROUND This fast-casual operation has changed its name, design and culture in a quest to upgrade its food choices. By Toby Weber

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