Rapidly expanding restaurant group announces new locations and a Third Co-Branded Concept for Blue Burro and The Buffalo Spot
Although Cinco de Mayo commemorates the anniversary of Mexico’s victory at the Battle of Puebla in 1862, in the U.S. it is a celebration of Mexican culture with parties, parades, and traditional Mexican foods. For Ivan Flores, founder and CEO of Encinal Brands, the parent company of restaurants such as Blue Burro, The Buffalo Spot, and Tacomasa, Cinco de Mayo is a time to reflect on his heritage and acknowledge how loyal guests and franchisees have helped contribute to the growth of the brand and the communities it serves.
“I have fond memories of growing up on my grandparents’ ranch in Tijuana, and named my first restaurant, El Encinal, after their ranch,” said Flores. “Unfortunately, the restaurant closed in 2013, but I always vowed through hard work and determination that I would take another shot at my childhood dream. In 2013, we opened our first Buffalo Spot restaurant and in 2019 we opened Blue Burro. Since then, our loyal guests and franchisees have taken us from humble beginnings to one of the most successful franchise brands on the West Coast and beyond.”
With a seemingly simple formula of choosing the right locations, the right people, and a simple menu with fresh, made-to-order items, Encinal Brands is one of the fastest growing quick-service restaurant groups with 40 stores located throughout California, Arizona, Nevada, and Texas. Within the past month new franchisees and corporate locations have opened at the following locations:
- Blue Burro at 2505 S. Val Vista Drive in Gilbert, Arizona (corporate)
- Blue Burro at 7829 Broadway Avenue in Lemon Grove, California (franchise)
- The Buffalo Spot at 1707 N. Collins St. in Arlington, TX (corporate)
- The Buffalo Spot at 12515 Frederick Street, Suite 1 in Moreno Valley, California (franchise)
In addition to the new locations, Encinal Brands announced its third co-branded store featuring The Buffalo Spot and Blue Burro brands in San Diego.
“We’re experiencing unprecedented growth, and it’s because we surround ourselves with passionate, hard-working people,” said Flores. “Some say we are lucky, but that’s not true. We are blessed because we are willing to work hard so our guests can have an extraordinary experience, so that we can leave a legacy for our children and families, and so we can give back to the communities we serve.”
Another reason for the success of Encinal Brands is keeping things simple. Menus do not offer 100 different choices but focus on tried-and-true favorites that keep guests coming back for more. For example, at Blue Burro, guests devour burritos that are hard to find anywhere else. From breakfast burritos with ham, bacon, or steak to fancier fare for lunch and dinner such as the Surf + Turf with grilled shrimp, angus steak, lettuce, cheese, salsa fresca, and special sauce, burritos are king at Blue Burro. The other featured menu item is fries or chips loaded with marinated chicken, pork, or steak. To wash it all down, there are milkshakes to die for, including Dulce de Leche and the beloved Blue Horchata. At the Buffalo Spot, it’s all about the World-Famous Buffalo Fries. Since Flores married buffalo chicken with potatoes in 2013, this unforgettable twist on traditional chicken wings has swept the West Coast with more franchises planned throughout 2022.
“The Mexican food industry stands at $55 billion a year now,” said Flores. “And fast casual restaurants are projected to outperform full-service Mexican eateries for the foreseeable future. This means there has never been a better time to own an Encinal Brands franchise or to join our multi-unit operators who own as many as five stores. We’ve been blessed beyond measure, so on Cinco de Mayo we will be looking across the table at our families, friends, franchisees, and loyal guests who have made everything possible for us.”
Restauranteur and entrepreneur Ivan Flores never wavered from his childhood dream of owning a Mexican restaurant business. He began by opening a restaurant, El Encinal, and learned from his experience designing and managing the store. After he closed El Encinal in 2013, he returned to his initial dream and began sketching out plans for a new Mexican fast casual franchise. Thanks to his vision and persistence, the first Blue Burro opened in 2019 in Long Beach and was an immediate hit, followed by Tacomasa in Long Beach, featuring the authentic flavors of Tijuana. Today, Encinal Brands has 40 restaurants in four states with expansion planned throughout 2022. For more information on franchising, visit https://thebuffalospotfranchise.com.