Fuzzy’s Taco Shop was founded in 2003 in Fort Worth, Texas, with the intention of creating a “taco heaven” that offered frosty drinks and fostered a never-want-to-leave attitude among its guests.
That mission worked all too well.
One major thing that sets Fuzzy’s Taco Shop apart from the competition is that franchisees are often drawn straight from the brand’s consumer base.
“A good majority of our franchisees today came to us via their dining experiences, and that’s significant,” Fuzzy’s Taco Shop Chief Development Officer Michael Mabry said. “That means when people are dining at our restaurants they can envision themselves being part of the brand.”
Today, Fuzzy’s has nearly 150 locations across the United States, with several more on the way, and is looking to break ground in an especially desirable market: Chicago.
To that end, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop team members will represent the brand at Franchise Expo Chicago on September 13 and 14. The expo will take place at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois, just outside of the Windy City.
The decision to expand within the Chicagoland area, where the brand does not currently have any locations, came after extensive research.
“We work closely with our real estate partner, CBRE, and as we looked across the U.S. to determine the most viable markets for the brand, Chicago was leading the pack with the most valuable locations across America.,” Mabry said. “Understanding that, we took a deeper dive and really started to look at the population, where they reside, how they dine and so forth. Chicago jumped off the page as a perfect place for us to develop.”
Prospective franchisees will have the chance to meet with brand executives and learn more about Fuzzy’s Taco Shop and the support it provides its franchise system.
The brand aims to open more than 40 restaurants in the Chicagoland area. Since a typical Fuzzy’s Taco Shop restaurant employs between 25 to 40 people, such an expansion could mean a significant job boost for the region.
Mabry is excited to attend Franchise Expo Chicago alongside Franchise Sales Manager Andie Smirl.
“We just want people and potential franchisees to know that we are excited about the market and we’re ready to grow there,” Mabry said.
The brand will determine where exactly in the Chicagoland area they will expand after meeting with prospective franchisees.
“To get specific, we really need to identify the interest level and see where potential franchisees are currently doing business,” Mabry said.
Mabry anticipates the Fuzzy’s Taco Shop brand will be well-received in the Chicago market thanks to its product offering and atmosphere, both of which also make it a desirable place to work.
“Our restaurants have a great vibe and are fun places to work,” Mabry said. “We offer full bars and excellent food, including a breakfast menu and options that can satisfy no matter the time of day. We even cater, which provides competitive revenue streams for our franchisees. There are so many aspects of the brand that make it a great opportunity, which is why we feel we’ll do extremely well in the Chicago market.”
And let’s not forget the tacos.
“Who doesn’t love tacos?” Mabry said.
The ideal Fuzzy’s Taco Shop franchisee is passionate about the brand and passionate about people.
“Whether they have restaurant experience or not, they have to have those two things,” Mabry said. “We’re looking for people who understand our laid-back vibe and want to reinforce that environment. Our team members are our most important asset.”
The brand also wants franchisees who are willing to dedicate time to the business.
“We want franchisees who are going to be hands-on in the business,” Mabry said. “If they want to have a day-to-day operator that’s fine, but they need to be hands-on.”
Fuzzy’s Taco Shop franchisees benefit from a wide array of support processes.
“Franchisees have a full complement of support from the franchise development team, including real estate, construction, training and more,” Mabry said. “During the entire tenure of the partnership or relationship with us, the franchisee will know exactly who the go-to person is.”
To learn more about franchising with Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, visit www.myfuzzys.com.