What is in this article?:
- Pancheros CEO details expansion plans
- Sticking with what works
The fast-casual brand is looking to expand above 60 restaurants with new franchise growth.
Rodney Anderson, CEO at Pancheros Mexican Grill.
Sticking with what works
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Some chains have taken to nontraditional locations to find the right sites. Is that something Pancheros is exploring?
We’re going to stay very basic in what we do, because we believe the business isn’t really going to change. We don’t believe in going into travel centers or C-stores, so we haven’t modified our footprint. We’ll still need 2,000 to 2,400 square feet and 20 or so tables, and it becomes a problem in the long run if you move away from end-cap locations and get a lot smaller. That hurts your sales, if you move to carryout-only instead of true fast casual.
So what have you refined within your four walls?
We’ve worked on our marinades and salsas, but you haven’t seen big, sweeping changes. We can really improve upon the flavor profiles and the consistency in our stores and save money at the same time. That’s been really positive, especially as you look at drought-related price increases in 2013. We’ve got ways we can handle things, but we haven’t hedged [commodity purchases]. We’ve got some adjustments in mind if we need them.
Our focus is always on the long run and doing what is best for the consumer and the business overall. We think we’re pretty close to that, and at times it’s hard to do things any better, even if we might have temporary cost increases.
Did the recession and the following slow recovery prompt Pancheros to make any changes, or was it all a matter of executing to manage through the downturn?
We always work on what we can do for throughput and speed of service, and we haven’t been trying to revolutionize things because of the recession or some other issue. When we ran into the recession — I think it’s been five years since we started mixing up the burrito [ingredients] before wrapping them up. That really started making an impact well into 2008, and as others saw warning signs, we saw solid sales growth, because that tactic makes for a fantastic burrito. It seems relatively simple, but to keep that up with our speed and sanitation standards, it took a lot of work.