• University of Michigan East Quad in Ann Arbor

  • Yale’s Dining Ventures West

  • Sales at Chicken Restaurants Ready to Take Flight Again?

  • DSR of the Month, July 2014: Chris Monico, Senior Project Manager C&T Design & Equipment Co., Indianapolis

Foodservice News

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Blog Network

jCarbonara
Joe Carbonara

Summer Scholars

If you saw the cover of this issue promoting our coverage of college and university foodservice innovators and thought the July edition of FE&S is not for you, think again. What's happening in college and university foodservice today will shape other foodservice industry segments for years to come.

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jMartinez
Juan Martinez

Designing for Flexibility: How Much Can You Afford Not to Do?

Many factors come into play when designing a restaurant. The décor and ambience represent obvious considerations but one design element many concepts fail to consider is building flexibility into the front-of-house, middle-of-house and back-of-house designs.

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jStiegler
Jerry Stiegler

Casual Restaurant Sales Still Weak, McDonald's Biggest Competition and Much More

This week we report on some preliminary findings of what operators think about the proposed Sysco/US Foods merger, share Malcolm Knapp’s thoughts about casual restaurant sales for the rest of the year, look at the success of Taco Bell’s breakfast program, compare Chick-fil-A to McDonald’s and a whole lot more.

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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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