Zambrero has opened two outlets in New England and has plans to take the business countrywide.
General manager Bianca Azzopardi told Inside Franchise Business that international expansion has been on the cards since the company’s beginning.
“There was always the intention for the brand to be taken globally but international expansion in to the US has been worked on over the last 12 months,” she said.
“We’ve been working on everything from the supply chain to site location.”
The two launch restaurants will be corporate-owned and operated but Zambrero intends to grow its footprint across the US through development agents or franchisees.
“The US is a massive market, and the beauty of our model is its simplicity. We don’t have to have food operators [as franchisees].
“The approach is similar to Australia for growth across the US. Our motivation is to donate one billion meals to our Plate4Plate cause by 2025 so we need exponential growth over a short period of time.”
Zambrero’s Plate 4 Plate initiative will remain at the heart of the brand’s identity in America. For every burrito or bowl purchased every day of the year, a meal is donated to someone in need via Zambrero’s distribution partner, American aid organisation; Rise Against Hunger (formerly Stop Hunger Now.)
Azzopardi identifies “product market fit” as the key challenge of the US market.
However, she believes the Plate4Plate initiative gives Zambrero a unique angle.
A 93sqm restaurant in Harvard Square, Cambridge (Massachusetts) and a 144sqm restaurant with drive-through in Warwick (Rhode Island) were strategically chosen to trial the offering among a large demographic of customers.
Azzopardi said there’s an incredible love of Mexican cuisine in America.
“As consumer affinity for healthy fast food continues to grow we saw it as a decisive time to launch and offer a new take.”
A US national operations manager will be leading the expansion and in time a support team will be appointed.
Zambrero has more than 160 restaurants in Australia and existing international presence in New Zealand and Ireland.
Sarah Stowe is the editor of sister publication, Inside Franchise Business.