last updated 09/09/2019
Spicing It Up
last updated 09/09/2019
One of NZ’s best-known restaurant brands, Mexico is now franchising
Going for a meal at Mexico the restaurant immediately transports you to Mexico – the country. First opened in 2012, the group rapidly attracted attention with its bright, vibrant restaurants and stunning food, and it’s still a stand-out in the market.
‘Mexico’s unique and original concept offered a new style of dining in Auckland when we first opened,’ says Sarah Page, the brand’s Marketing Manager. ‘It’s made us a market leader not just in the huge Mexican food category but in the hospitality industry as a whole. We are obsessed with offering the best Mexican-inspired street food while giving our customers an excellent experience.’
Mexico already has 12 restaurants around the country, from Silverdale to Christchurch and the Auckland International Airport. Now, for the first time ever, it’s offering franchisees the chance to take the brand into new locations nationwide. Having recently become part of the Café Brands group, it has a significant advantage – a sister company is multiple award-winning Columbus Coffee, so franchisees can look forward to highly professional levels of support and considerable buying power.
A vibe to remember
‘Mexico has a large following and loyal customer base,’ says Sarah. ‘Each one of our restaurants is unique, with stunning handcrafted artwork and murals helping to create an immersive atmosphere that keeps customers coming back.
Sarah has been with the brand for a long time and is part of a team of extremely passionate hospitality professionals who are dedicated to Mexico and hospitality. ‘We are all really excited that, with Café Brands now at the helm, we can introduce new customers in different regions to the Mexico experience.’
Leading the way
‘The fast casual dining market is growing very, very quickly,’ says Graeme Tait, Managing Director for Café Brands. ‘It’s being led by the growth in dining precincts which we see popping up all round the country, and the brand that has really spearheaded this category is Mexico. It’s a dining experience with that extra “wow” factor. The service is engaging and deep, and the food and drinks are amazing.
‘When Café Brands was looking for a new brand to add to our stable, there were three main criteria it had to meet. First, it had to have a recognisable brand profile, distinct and unique from other hospitality brands. With over 85,000 followers on social media, customers were clearly very engaged with Mexico. The second was that it had to have grown successfully from the original concept to a network of venues – and Mexico had proved that it can operate as successfully in Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch as it can in Auckland. And the third was that it must have well-defined and documented business systems. Mexico met all three criteria so we were confident to invest in the brand and grow it.
‘We opened the first Columbus Coffee back in 1995 and there are now over 70 outlets throughout New Zealand. Mexico is very similar in that it was first into the market and has an excellent reputation,’ says Graeme. ‘From our experience we believe there is room for 20 such restaurants in the country, and we welcome expressions of interest from people with the right commitment and enthusiasm to take this well-proven concept into new markets.’
Banking on experience
Nick McCaw was one of the original founders of Mexico and has spent years developing the brand’s solid business model. ‘We have a diverse menu with small, large and shared plates to suit all customers’ preferences. Mexico delivers equally well for family groups, date nights, parties and corporate groups. Many of our customers come regularly – frequently once a week or more. They know they will have a great time and they know our food will always be delicious and excellent.
‘Everything at Mexico has been well priced, both from a customer and franchisee perspective. Strong profitability is built-in, enabling franchisees to operate successfully month-on-month regardless of season and cost of produce.
‘That’s important, because entering the hospitality industry can be risky,’ says Nick. ‘We have terrific systems, amazing staff and a great environment, all designed to deliver that unique experience that customers keep coming back for. We’ve spent several years developing and fine-tuning a strong brand that delivers for all parties and is ready to expand.
‘At its heart, Mexico has a strong sense of identity which simply cannot be replicated by our competition. That’s why we are looking for people to build their own business in other New Zealand cities. If you are passionate about hospitality and can see the potential for a Mexico restaurant in your area, come talk to us about sharing the Mexico experience.’
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