Bullritos came out of the chute in 2009 as the latest Tex-Mex brainchild of local restaurateur Russell Ybarra, owner of two established Houston-based full service chains, Gringo’s Mexican Kitchen and Jimmy Changas. No stranger to building strong brands and loyal customers, Ybarra’s concept was for a quick-casual meal provider, prepared exclusively with fresh food.
Late last year, the Bullritos brand was acquired by the Houston-based Bullritos Acquisition Group, LLC (BAG), led by Kevin Gordon and Alan Broussard, who share a passion for the brand and a goal to take the vision and run with it. This team mapped out a growth plan to take Bullritos beyond the borders of Texas, and current restaurant locations in Louisiana and Georgia, to contiguous markets such as Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and Florida.
“Our goal is to build on the 21 restaurants we currently have, to 100 or more restaurants within three to five years. We continue to seek qualified area developers and franchise partners who are as excited about the brand and food as we are and want to propel the concept to the next level with us,” said Gordon. “Our commitment to expansion is driven by recruiting experienced restaurant partners who connect with our brand and want to be part of driving that brand into new markets. Not only do we have the strength of fresh food as the cornerstone of our business, but we’ve strategically worked from day one to partner with top brands such as Tabasco, Coca-Cola, Seattle’s Best Coffee and El Matador Foods, and will continue to do so.”
“While we’ve established our brand on a quick-casual burrito concept, our restaurants are designed without freezers or microwaves, meaning that we use the freshest of food,” said John Beszborn, franchise owner in Houston and Georgia. “Our employees take pride in serving freshly prepared food every day — from boiling the pot of beans in the morning, to hand-making delicious guacamole throughout the day, to frying our own chips — just so our guests are always experiencing fresh and wholesome food.”
The company recently opened three new Houston-area restaurants, with locations in the Downtown Shops at Houston Center, Terminal B at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, and in Crosby. These three Bullritos joined the 14 additional Houston-area locations, which range throughout the geographic region, including metro Houston, Spring, Rosenberg, Pearland, Pasadena, League City, La Porte and Friendswood.
The opening this spring of the airport location marks the brand’s first entry into the very competitive airport restaurant business. “Our Bullritos restaurant is the fifth brand we have added to our portfolio of restaurants,” said Chris James of Kingwood-based LaTrelle’s Management Group and franchise owner of the IAH location. “Our franchisee group currently has 22 restaurants in four airports around the country. We firmly believe the addition of Bullritos will provide a strong growth opportunity for the brand.”
In addition, Austin will become a new market for Bullritos later this year. The franchisee intends to open three initial locations in the Austin market. The restaurants will be located in key areas of the city to allow a broad base of customers to experience Bullritos’ incredible food.
The Bullritos brand employs approximately 300 individuals at its current restaurants. The restaurants are open daily from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. and serve lunch and dinner. An average per-person ticket ranges from $8 to $11, with dinner being on the higher end of that range because beer and margaritas are often purchased with those transactions. Coca-Cola Freestyle machines allow customers to truly customize their non-alcoholic beverage choices.
The franchise owners of Bullritos restaurants pride themselves on their community involvement. Not only does each restaurant work closely to support local groups such as schools and non-profit organizations, but in 2011 the brand made a decision to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as its annual beneficiary. In 2012, the Bullritos system donated $20,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, double the amount donated the previous year. The goal is to continue to build that support so that even more children and their families can be helped.
Houston-based Bullritos Acquisition Group, LLC has 21 franchised restaurants throughout Texas, Louisiana and Georgia. Inspired by the Running of the Bulls in Spain, the Bullritos brand was launched in 2009 with a no-bull approach based simply on quality, value and service. Fresh ingredients and the unique bag ‘n’ go burritos, bowls and tacos are the cornerstones of Bullritos. For more information, visit www.bullritos.com.