Franchise News

The Story of California Tortilla: Franchise Review and Fees

Good day! Who are you and what business do you run?

I’m Bob Phillips, president and CEO of California Tortilla. Our brand is a ‘California-style’ fast-casual Mexican restaurant franchise that reimagines what Mexican meals might be by means of chef-driven menu creations made with the freshest components and boldest flavors out there.

While we cater to particular person customer needs, we additionally supply bold and thrilling flavor profiles in our signature merchandise that embrace guacamole, salsa, queso and other sauces made in-house in small batches.

Beyond our top-tier menu though, we dedicate our time to creating the Cal Tort customer experience distinctive in each method. We love our clients and each determination we make is according to our aim of higher serving them to bolster the continued success of our franchisees.

Chips, queso, guacamole and salsa from California Tortilla.

Firm Snapshot: Franchise Charges / Royalty

  • Founded: 1995
  • Franchising Since: 2003
  • Number of Present Places: 40
  • Complete Initial Investment: $402,400 to $697,000
  • Initial Franchise Charge: $40,000
  • Ongoing Royalty Charge: 5%
  • Ad Royalty Payment: 2%
  • Internet Value Minimum: $1 million, with $250,000 in liquid belongings
  • Agreement Size: 10 years

What’s your backstory?

With my business associate and present California Tortilla COO Keith Goldman, I opened the third-ever California Tortilla 18 years ago. Once we first encountered the brand in Bethesda, Maryland within the mid-1990s, we have been initially drawn in by the strains out the door. What brought us again once more, although, was the restaurant’s sense of humor, wacky promotions and scrumptious meals. 

At that point, we have been both seasoned restaurant operators with ample franchising expertise, and we recognized the potential of the brand immediately.

After opening our location, we bought a majority stake in the model from founders Pam Felix and Alan Cohen and shifted California Tortilla’s id to a food-first brand whereas still sustaining its fun-loving environment. This meant elevating our menu with freshness and taste so that our providing was the brand’s most distinct character trait without sacrificing another defining characteristics.

Since then, our workforce has grown Cal Tort to a 40-plus unit model with a robust presence in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. that’s now expanding throughout the nation by means of franchising. After opening 5 new places in 2018, we’re getting ready to open six more places this yr.

Inside a California Tortilla location.

Inform us about your menu and buyer offerings.

Our in depth menu is chef-inspired, pulling inspiration from the worldwide group for both menu staples and rotating options. At many different fast-casual Mexican eating places, you stroll down the line and decide and choose components to construct your meal—but at Cal Tort, you’ll be able to order each signature gadgets or your personal creation.

Our dishes are made with components that appear inconceivable to combine, however before you realize it, you’re hooked on flavors like Crunchy BBQ Ranch or Blackened Hen Caesar.

As evidenced by our avocado emblem, guacamole is one among our signature menu gadgets—it’s hand-smashed all through the day in small batches utilizing solely completely ripened Hass avocados.

Our salsa is produced from recent Roma tomatoes 3 times per day, and all queso and sauces are additionally made day by day from scratch. Nothing at Cal Tort is made prematurely or frozen, and it never might be.

The California Tortilla Menu.

What makes this chance unique?

Within the restaurant business, fast casual is the top-performing sector. Inside that, the Mexican meals phase is the top-performing subcategory. We exist at the intersection of those shopper preferences, a candy spot that continues to grow.

At California Tortilla, our dedication to using the freshest, most high-quality elements obtainable sets us aside. We put together greater than 25 small-batch recipes in-house from the freshest elements potential each day, and also you’ll by no means see a freezer in a Cal Tort restaurant—as an alternative, produce is acquired several occasions every week.

The breadth of our menu and its different taste profiles are totally distinctive. By means of the years, we’ve built this belief with our clients that has allowed us to be artistic with totally different flavors. They’re all the time prepared to attempt our new creations—and them delicious—which has resulted in robust customer tradition.

Each of our 40-plus places also commits to enjoying hits from the ‘80s and boasts a powerful assortment of greater than 75 totally different scorching sauces on what’s generally known as the Wall of Flame.

The Wall of Flame.

What does the future of the business appear to be?

We’re presently working on two tasks we’re notably enthusiastic about: A complete improve of our present cellular app and the implementation of a revamped service structure.

Our present app has a loyalty function and online ordering capabilities, but because we’re seeing an influx of gross sales coming from the platform, we’re investing in enhancing its functionality and capabilities to raised meet the wants of both our clients and our franchisees.

As for our service structure, we’re within the process of creating a larger-scale structural improve that utilizes a ‘pay final’ mannequin. In our current state, clients order and pay first earlier than receiving their meals.

We’ve been learning the fast-casual phase and consider that making the change to a ‘pay final’ model provides our clients additional customization capabilities.

And while most ‘pay last’ concepts are ingredient-based, we’ve created a hybrid model that comes with curated menu gadgets into this process. As clients go down the line, they will add or take away specific elements, resulting in an end product that’s exactly what the guest needs.

By decreasing the friction in the transaction, we see this as a chance to increase our prime line and attraction to the young shopper, above all, whereas concurrently adding to our worth proposition and giving us pricing energy.

Recent California-inspired food.

What does a typical day appear to be for a franchisee?

Our franchisees are largely owner-operators who take pleasure in spending time of their eating places. They sometimes decide their very own hours, and thrive in the connectedness of California Tortilla’s family-friendly, community-oriented environment. The footprint of our places isn’t large, in order that they don’t have a ton of staff to handle, but things still keep persistently busy—and profitable.

Once they’re not supporting their staff with any and all back-of-house needs, you’ll be able to catch our franchisees spend time in the front of their stores, connecting with visitors and making certain the client expertise is all the time top-notch.

We take satisfaction in our stores having present business house owners who love connecting with the individuals inside their eating places. 

Is a California Tortilla Franchise in Your Future?

How much are you able to realistically anticipate to make?

Our franchisees earn a mean gross revenue of $1,023,268. And while the Federal Trade Fee gained’t permit us to speak extra on to this. Financing is accessible to certified borrowers by way of third-party lenders. 

What coaching packages are in place to help franchisees succeed?

Our franchisees interact in 4 weeks of complete training at our training restaurant in Maryland, as well as two weeks of specialized on-site coaching through the Grand Opening course of. Upon becoming a member of the Cal Tort family, franchisees are assigned a dedicated Franchise Business Marketing consultant who helps them navigate the problems that include getting their new business off the ground.

Our help also consists of guiding franchisees via the creation of their local store advertising plan, establishing a finances in addition to processes and greatest practices that may set them up for fulfillment and profitability.

What are the traits of profitable franchisees?

Our most successful franchisees come from a restaurant background. We’ve got great techniques in place, however those who have the power to select it up with ease are the franchisees that thrive. 

Our greatest franchisees are additionally the mayor of their restaurant—they’re involved of their group, each inside and out of doors of their retailer. They’re engaged, excited and have the power and skillset to make connections—extroversion helps tremendously.

That being stated, we’ve got introverted franchisees who are studious and excel in technical features of the business, but they nonetheless have extroverts on their workforce to get their business out there the best way we anticipate.

Last feedback?

Cal Tort is a worthwhile investment for a lot of reasons, but the prime two are nice unit-level economics and the supply of prime territories. Our menu, service system and buildout are all specifically designed to be worthwhile, and have generated robust returns for our franchisees in consequence. 

Additionally, since we’ve elected to develop concentrically from our Washington, D.C.-area base, a lot of the U.S. continues to be obtainable for improvement. As an rising model poised to break into the Kansas and Tennessee markets later this yr, California Tortilla makes for an amazing potential investment with plenty of room to develop.

Where can we go to study more?

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