'California-style' Mexican restaurant franchise California Tortilla—also lovingly referred to as Cal Tort—knows that quality ingredients, exceptional service and best-in-class unit economics translate into exciting franchise development. That’s why the purveyor of Californian-meets-Mexican eats has successfully scaled to over 40 locations in its native East Coast/Mid-Atlantic region. Bolstered by impressive development momentum marked by the opening of five new locations in 2018 and six more slated to open in 2019, California Tortilla is now ready to expand its footprint into the neighboring markets of Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina.
Cal Tort’s Director of Franchise Development, Aaron Goldberg, shared that North Carolina’s primary markets of Raleigh and Durham stand out as natural next steps for the chef-inspired brand.
“One of our biggest differentiators in the fast-casual space is our commitment to healthy, fresh and high-quality ingredients,” said Goldberg. “Because of this, our franchise development prioritizes supply chain management and adequate support. We’re employing a development strategy centered on controlled cost of goods, quality and delivery in order to position our franchisees for success.”
Given California Tortilla’s strong control of cost of goods to goods sold, along with fresh products and high retail, the Baja-inflected brand is growing concentrically into markets near the East Coast so as to leverage “the benefit of our supply chain strength,” explained Goldberg.
When considering North Carolina for franchise development, Goldberg said that Cal Tort looked at Raleigh and Durham’s metropolitan growth, job growth and overall economic strength. The brand was wise to dial into North Carolina as a target market—in addition to the aforementioned proximity to Cal Tort’s East Coast supply chain, North Carolina currently enjoys a population growth of 1.14%, ranking No. 14 in the U.S. and coming in considerably higher than the 0.7% national average. Furthermore, North Carolina has emerged as a hub of engineering, aerospace technology and industry, with 12 Fortune 500 and 27 Fortune 1000 headquarters taking root in the area. The Tar Heel State was even named Forbes’ 2018 Best State for Business.
Needless to say, “both Raleigh and Durham have extremely dynamic markets,” in the words of Goldberg. “In terms of Raleigh in particular, consumer spend and fast-casual relevance is through the roof, as are job availability and education. We have fantastic broker connections in Raleigh as well.”
California Tortilla not only boasts the development strategy and strategic network to grow the brand, however; fresh-and-flavorful Cal Tort also stands apart as a quality-focused player in one of the top-performing sectors of the restaurant industry—fast-casual—and in the top-performing segment therein: Mexican food.
“We exist at the intersection of these consumer preferences as a sweet spot that is still growing,” said California Tortilla CEO, Bob Phillips.
Unlike competitors, California Tortilla doesn’t sacrifice quality for speed, comprising a truly convenient and delicious way to grab a flavorful bite amid consumer habits trending toward the millennial-driven preference for easy and healthy food. With Raleigh and Durham’s expanding populations—plus the addition of the increasing number of companies who are opting to set up their headquarters in North Carolina—the coastal South couldn’t be a better fit for Cal Tort.
California Tortilla currently has 25 units in development for which executive leadership is sourcing prime real estate. The brand’s corporate team is also deploying an aggressive development plan to match North Carolina’s competitive business landscape.
Goldberg shared that the Raleigh/Durham market capacity is currently 15 to 17 Cal Tort units, the first of which is set to open in Durham later this year.
“We’re looking for franchise partners eager to scale in a high-demand market,” said Goldberg. “The ideal Cal Tort franchisee boasts a reverence for quality and a passion for best-in-class service—after all, that’s what California Tortilla is all about.”
The investment range for a California Tortilla franchise ranges from $402,400 to $697,000, including a $40,000 initial franchise fee. For more information on available opportunities, please visit https://franchise.californiatortilla.com.