Zambrero to open in Melbourne

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Mexican food franchise Zambrero is starting its aggressive expansion plans for Victoria with the opening of its first Melbourne outlet at a Melbourne Institute of Technology campus; a South Yarra store is set to open its doors late October.

Zambrero CEO, Stuart Cook, told Franchising "Mexican food is doing quite well in Victoria, the people of Melbourne are really embracing the Mexican wave."

The Mexican food franchise has "quite aggressive plans" for Victoria and Tasmania, said Cook, with a variety of site options in the portfolio.

The MIT House franchise will be headed up by Melbourne local Sam Khosravi and is set for a September 13 opening. 

Expansion

This is the second university based outlet for the 22-strong food chain, which also has a store at the Australian National University in Canberra, and also has a restaurant in the vicinity of the Queensland University of Technology in Kelvin Grove.

However, Cook said "This isn't a primary focus for our sites but we are working to help students eat healthy food."

The South Yarra venue will be a strip location on Chapel Street which has a vibrant nightlife and is surrounded by other quick service restaurants.

Zambrero has also ventured into the food court arena, but only after establishing its brand.

"Ideally you don't go into food courts straight away, you don't get the brand awareness and can't create the culture that you can in a strip location, it's more about convenience," Cook said.

The food court model will be extended following the success of the initial two outlets in the brand's home base of Canberra.

Zambrero is aiming to have 30 stores open within the next 12 months and to have a portfolio of 100 outlets by the end of 2014.

Menu choices

The core demographic for the food franchise chain is the 18-25 year old, both male and female, though older customers who are becoming educated about the food options are tucking in at Zambrero too, said Cook.

A smaller sized burrito, a chik-ita, has been launched as a menu option for customers, particularly women, looking for a smaller portion size.

Cook said Zambrero is constantly trialling menu ideas, with the founder Dr Sam Prince the decision maker about which dishes make the cut.

Right now there are menu choices being trialled in different states, including a dessert option.

"You're only as strong as your weakest menu item and we back ourselves in every menu item," said Cook.

  • Find out more about Zambrero's million meals and Plates4Plates fundraising initiative.
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