New Orleans’ VooDoo BBQ Franchise Leading Fast Casual Surge

While fast food and family dining restaurant sales have plummeted in the recession, fast casual restaurants – the kind VooDoo BBQ & Grill is committed to – have grown in popularity, according to a recent ABC News story.

The article highlights the growth of the fast casual phenomenon, calling it a “fast food facelift.” In the last year, sales in the fast casual sector reached $18 billion.

The VooDoo BBQ & Grill franchise has had a record year. The system is expanding from its current 12 restaurants in south Louisiana to 41 more in five more states over the next decade, including multi-unit expansions in the Carolinas, Florida and Texas. All 41 will be fast casual restaurants.

Fast casual restaurants are drawing diners by the thousands because they cater to what diners want.

“We at VooDoo BBQ & Grill are committed to opening only fast casual restaurants because fast casual fits our great food and fun, laid-back style, and because we know there’s tremendous growth potential in that sector for our franchise owners,” said VooDoo CEO Tony Avila. “By serving competition-style barbecue in a fast casual setting, we meet the public’s demand for good food served quickly and at an affordable price.”

VooDoo recruited Chef Angel Lombrage from the renowned Ruth’s Chris steakhouse chain to make sure its barbecue and side dishes were the best. Dino Arvanetes, VooDoo’s COO, also worked at Ruth’s Chris, and he and Chef Angel use their experience and knowledge as the driving force behind the quality and taste of VooDoo’s food.

VooDoo serves competition-style ribs, brisket and pulled pork that’s slow-cooked to be savored with nothing added or with any combination of three sauces: Mojo, Mango Crystal and Cane Vinegar. VooDoo offers unique side dishes such as Gris Gris Greens, sweet potato soufflé and perennial favorite corn pudding, even salads and sandwiches that surpass anything diners would find at a traditional “BBQ shack.”

“There are not enough barbecue restaurants to meet demand, especially for lunchtime crowds,” Avila said. “Diners gravitate towards fast casual because the food quality is high, the cost is reasonable and they can eat quickly. VooDoo BBQ is well on its way to becoming a national fast casual brand because of this.”

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