Salsarita’s, the Fresh Mexican Cantina with locations across the country is booming in Tennessee. H.P. Patel, a franchisee of Salsarita’s Fresh Mexican Cantina became involved with the chain in 2004 after overcoming obstacles as a first-time business owner. Like any entrepreneur, Patel knew he would face potential risks when he decided to work for himself rather than work for someone else.
A native of Gujarat, Patel came to the United States in 1991 at age 15 where his family settled in Knoxville, Tennessee. In 1998, Patel graduated from the University of Tennessee with a bachelor’s degree in retail management. Shortly after graduation, he moved to Charlotte to pursue his own small business endeavor. But eventually he found himself missing Knoxville so back he went and got a job managing a UPS Store from 2002 to 2004. This is where he got introduced to franchising.
Patel changed his business strategy when he learned franchising was a team sport. He loved the idea of opening a business of his own, and a family business suited him even better. After much research into various concepts Patel settled on Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina based in Charlotte, NC. The restaurant offers Mexican favorites such as five flavorful house-made salsas, custom burritos, tacos, nachos and salads made fresh to order with an extensive selection of proteins, toppings and fillings.
“I felt that quick casual was the definite way to go,” said Patel, who currently operates eight Salsarita’s locations in the greater Knoxville area, one in Chattanooga, TN and one in Huntsville, AL. with his wife Shelley, brother J.T. and sister-in-law Anju. The partners formed Laxmi Ventures to oversee their Salsarita’s restaurants.
Patel has also signed a 10-year agreement for more exclusive rights in the market. He’s been recognized as Salsarita’s Franchisee of the Year three times and is Salsarita’s largest traditional franchisee. Laxmi Ventures is expected to open two in Chattanooga by April 2017.
As a franchisee, Patel found success in a structured and established business model. He was no longer in business by himself and found support from the Salsarita’s franchise system and his business partners.
Patel’s commitment has brought him, as well as his partners, great success with Salsarita’s. “I attribute this to all the support I get by working with family and partners daily,” says Patel. “And the support we get from the franchisor makes us feel like we are in business for ourselves, but not by ourselves. Food is a commodity, it’s interchangeable – people are not,” said Patel. “Finding the right people who care about the business is important – that’s the difference between being good and being great.”
Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina offers Mexican favorites such as five flavorful house-made salsas, custom burritos, tacos, nachos and salads made fresh to order with an extensive selection of proteins, toppings and fillings. Founded in 2000, Salsarita’s was acquired by franchise industry veteran Phil Friedman in 2011. Operating more than 80 locations in 19 states, Salsarita’s expects to have about 300 locations nationwide within five to six years. For more information, visit www.salsaritas.com.