What is in this article?:
- Boston's restarts growth in Mexico
- Adapting to a different culture
Mexico offers growing restaurants several advantages, including its proximity to U.S. corporate headquarters.
Adapting to a different culture
Are the demographics different?
The proportion of families is higher in Mexico. The casual-dining user is similar to the United States. With the four stores, we’ve noticed people will go to Boston’s for a special event, such as a birthday, anniversary or date. That’s not who we are in the United States. In Mexico, Boston’s is perceived to be a bit higher level of casual dining. It’s more upscale.
What about the bars?
The bar demographic is very similar — big on sporting events. All four of the restaurants have pull-down screens in the dining room for the big soccer tournaments. The entire facility turns into a big sports area.
How have volumes tracked?
The volumes have been shockingly good. Per person check averages are very, very strong. In Mexico, more than 40 percent of the pizza sales are the large size. They share it as a prelude to dinner. They do appetizers, entrees, desserts and coffee.
Are menus significantly different?
We have 91 items on the U.S. menu, and there are 91 on the Mexico menu. There are eight products that are specific to Mexico. Nachos, for example, don’t translate well. Nachos are a big seller in the U.S., but in Mexico it’s a Texas creation and they don’t want anything to do with it.
How about sourcing?
We try to source locally as much as we can. About 38 percent of the product on the menu comes from the U.S., and that’s more proprietary, like sauces and pizza dough.
How do unit volumes compare?
In the U.S. we’re averaging just under $2.1 million in average unit volumes. At the four stores in Mexico average unit volumes are close to $2.7 million.
What do you see for further development in Mexico? Are you concerned about safety amid drug cartel fears?
We’re very optimistic about where the future will take us. Clearly, from a security standpoint, we’re pretty careful about where we go. I don’t see us putting restaurants in Tijuana or some of the border towns where we know there are problems.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: February 19, 2013 This story corrects the location of Boston's second location in Mexico. It is located in Merida, Yucatan.