• Puesto in San Diego, Calif.

  • DSR of the Month: David Kort of Premium Supply Co., Deer Park, N.Y.

  • Chain Profile: Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar

  • Educating Students at the Francis Tuttle School of Culinary Arts in Oklahoma City, Okla.

Foodservice News

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Blog Network

jCarbonara
Joe Carbonara

Go the Distance: The Most Important Three Feet in the House

Many foodservice professionals often refer to the tabletop as the most important three feet in the house. That's because the tabletop represents the aspect of the foodservice operation that diners interact with most. So it would seem logical, then, that most restaurant and foodservice operators would put in plenty of thought, minding every detail, when developing their tabletops (page 18). Unfortunately, the opposite is often true.

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jMartinez
Juan Martinez

Foodservice Design Parameters for Successful Co-Branding

 The concept of co-branding, meaning having two restaurants share the same space, is nothing new. Sometimes it works. Other times it does not. So what’s the difference between successful and unsuccessful co-branding initiatives?

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jStiegler
Jerry Stiegler

McDonald’s Still Stumbling, Unemployment News Brightens, and U.S. Retail Sales Dip

The Commerce Department reported weak September retail sales but restaurants enjoyed a fair increase. First-time jobless claims fell to a 14-year low. The Sysco/U.S. Foods merger may have hit a stumbling block. Malcolm Knapp is optimistic about casual restaurant sales. McDonald’s is still searching for answers.

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Greg Christian
Greg Christian

Outcomes for Year One of a New, Self-Op School Lunch Program

As the 2014-2015 school year draws to a close, I'd like to share the final outcomes of Nardin Academy's new self-operated foodservice program.

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Highlights

Chain Innovators: Qdoba Mexican Grill

Billing itself as an "artisanal Mexican kitchen," Qdoba has grown to more than 500 units and secured its position as a major force in the fast-casual restaurant segment.

QdobaConsistently adding upwards of 50 units a year, Qdoba has wrapped up a formula for success that relies on a core menu of burrito, quesadilla and taco fixings prepared fresh in-store — including slow-roasting its pork and hand-shredding its beef — and sales- and traffic-building limited time offers, such as Mini Street Tacos and Summer Fresh Mango Salad.

While LTOs keep things interesting, the chain's best strategic innovation of late is its Craft 2™ menu option, launched in January 2010. "It allows guests to mix and match two of our most popular items in one entrée for an average price of $5.99," says Ted Stoner, director of strategic product development. "It lets them try different things in smaller portions or balance a smaller portion of a heavier item with a salad. When the economy was so soft we really had to look hard at how we could entice loyal guests to come back in more often and also to attract new guests. This was a huge success on both fronts and it continues to represent a nice percentage of sales."

In line with a recent drive to promote its more healthful menu options, Qdoba even offers customers suggestions on Craft 2™ menu combinations that come in at less than 600 calories.

Fast Facts

  • Year founded: 1995
  • Headquarters: Wheat Ridge, Colo.
  • Menu specialties: Fresh Mexican cuisine that is handcrafted and prepared on an open grill
  • Service model: Fast-casual, take-out
  • Ownership: Qdoba is a wholly owned subsidiary of Jack in the Box, Inc.
  • Units: 500 in 42 states (60 percent franchised)
  • 2010 sales: $480,794,000
  • 2010 growth: Sales increased 11 percent, number of units grew by 3 percent
  • Projected 2011 growth: 60 to 70 new locations
  • Typical location: High-profile end cap and inline locations
  • Average unit size: Approximately 2,400 sq. ft.
  • Average kitchen space: Approximately 800 sq. ft.
  • Average check: $9.88 (FY 2010)
  • Total unit cost: $633,000

Key Players

  • Chief Executive Officer: Gary Beisler
  • Chief Operating Officer: Richard Pugh
  • Chief Marketing Officer: Karen Guido
  • Vice President of Franchise Development: Todd Owen
  • Vice President of Real Estate Development: Peder Kruger
  • Director of Strategic Product Development: Ted Stoner
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