Indianapolis, IN, April 03, 2007 --(PR.com
)-- c.o.jones is expanding with partners in the Midwest, Mid Atlantic and Southest. After opening an additional 5 locations the company intends to offer franchises. Partners in the next 5 locations will be granted master developer status for a specified geography and a split of the initial franchise fee and ongoing royalties.
The newest locations planned are to be located in Saint Louis, Mo and Charlotte and Raleigh, NC according to founder Bob Potter.
c.o.jones is a fast casual, full service Mexican Restaurant. Prices range from $6.95 - $9.95. Per person check averages $16 at dinner.
c.o.jones Mexican Restaurant based in New Haven, CT. has been open since 1999 and has enjoyed continuous success. Executive Director Tom Coyle stated the company feels that they’ve been able to take Cal-Mex cuisine, add the Margarita and Tequila bar, funky environment and great name. This all helps differentiate c.o.jones from others, and they have made it as simple as possible to operate and run.
Products / Service
The food is a healthy version of Mexican, better known as California Mexican, or Cal-Mex. The food is simple, fresh and prepared daily. Burritos, quesadillas and salads make up the majority of the menu along with appetizers, wings and dips.
Margarita & Tequila Bar - One of the things that separate their restaurant from other Mexican Restaurants is the large selection of Tequila. They offer over 75 Tequilas and 25 different Margaritas and Tequila samplers.
The restaurant is full table service with take out accounting for approximately 10% of food sales.
1) Food costs are low. Profit margins on Mexican food are good. Other than pizza and Italian food, Mexican food has some of the lowest food costs in the restaurant business – chicken, beef, vegetables, rice, beans and tortillas.
2) Liquor costs are low. Seventy percent of liquor sales are House or Flavored Margaritas. Liquor that is used to make their House Margaritas (an inexpensive tequila and triple sec typically has very good profit margins). The restaurant premake the Margaritas and put them either in a bubbler machine or large frozen drink machines. The restaurants don’t use a packaged sour mix or sour mix off the soda gun. The restaurants makes the award winning sour mix by using fresh Lemon and Lime juice for all Margaritas, House as well as top shelf Margaritas. Liquor sales represent 60% of their total sales.
3) Labor costs are low. Due to the fact that you don’t need highly skilled and highly paid kitchen staff to prepare this type of food. The food is quick and simple with 75% of the food being pre-prepped prior to opening. The menu is not dealing with high cost items such as perishable seafood and expensive steak. All the rice, beans, chicken, steak and vegetables are prepped, cooked and ready to go before each shift. Ease and quickness in preparation and execution give the concept the advantages of take out as well as full service. This type of takeout food is ideal since it stays hot and travels well.
4) Low start up costs. This type of restaurant does not have high start up costs due to the casual theme and suggested size. Equipment needed for this concept is minimal – fryer, grill, oven and double stack steamer. Tthere is no need a large Hood system or large kitchen, just the basics. Their prototype model has a total investment of approximately $170,000.
5) Recession proof business. None of the menu items are priced over $10. It’s hard to find any full service restaurant that will offer that. Each year, more and more people are going out to eat and are price conscious with their choices. With a pricing structure like they have, it makes it affordable for people to visit the restaurant on a frequent basis.
6) Ease of operation. From the very beginning, this restaurant was set up to be as simple as possible to operate and run. You will be hard pressed to find another full service restaurant easier to run than this.
The Market / Competition
Their target market is made up of primarily college students, grad students and young professionals. Primary age range would be 21 through 40.The concept has great appeal to college students and young professionals for many reasons – inexpensive and tasty food, great drinks in a fun, funky atmosphere. This style of food has gotten popular with such chains as Chipotles, Baja’s and Moe’s. What separates c.o.jones restaurant concept from the others is the different atmosphere, margaritas and the overall restaurant philosophy.
Mexican food seems to be broken down into the Chili’s, On the Border, Chevy’s and Don Pablo type of restaurants - all very big corporate chains with free standing buildings and an investment +/- $2 million.. Then you have the Chipotle’s, Baja Fresh, Qdoba and Moe’s. All of these restaurants are competing against one another. The c.o.jones concept falls somewhere in-between since the food is similar to a Chipotle’s or Baja’s, but is a full service, full liquor concept like On the Border and in a much smaller space. Size does matter ….. and bigger isn’t necessarily better. Preferring smaller spaces helps you control the restaurant easier, makes it more efficient and lower costs. Putting that in a SoHo inspired atmosphere makes it different from other Mexican concepts.
The company knows who the target market is and what they’re looking for. Making money on the food end of the restaurant business is becoming increasingly harder to do with rising food and labor costs. That’s why the company likes the Margarita and Tequila Bar. Anyone can have a Margarita and Tequila Bar, but it has to be in the right environment. Serving Margaritas in one of the quick serve restaurants isn’t going to have the same feel or sales.