Irving, Texas — Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, a Texas-based Baja-style restaurant group, has launched a new concept, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop Taqueria. The Taqueria encompasses everything fans have come to love about the brand with the same recipes, but will offer a slightly reduced menu in a smaller, to-go focused footprint. Fuzzy’s Taqueria will open its first location in Minneapolis, a new market for the brand which has nearly 150 franchise- and corporate-owned locations in 16 states (17, when Minnesota opens).
Plans for the new footprint began prior to the pandemic, as Fuzzy’s Taco Shop noticed a continued shift of dining to off-premise. Then, when the pandemic hit, it reinforced the need for a model that would allow flexibility for restaurant partners and new franchisees.
“As real estate opportunities became available over the last year, we realized we didn’t want to limit our franchisees to the traditional Fuzzy’s model with larger square footage requirements,” says Jessica Wescott, chief operating officer and chief financial officer of Fuzzy’s Taco Shop.
A traditional Fuzzy’s Taco Shop unit is between 3,000 and 4,000 square feet, while the Fuzzy’s Taqueria will typically operate within 1,200- and 1,800-square-foot spaces.
Wescott continues: “At the same time, we understood from a consumer perspective this new footprint needed to be branded differently. It was important to keep the overall Fuzzy’s vibe our guests have come to love and trust with our great food, cold drinks and Baja feel, but also make the Taqueria a little different to showcase the reduced menu and a more take-out driven focus.”
Fuzzy’s first opportunity to test this model came when Minneapolis-based commercial real estate broker Peter Fitzgerald and tenured restaurant operator Ed Pittsley approached the brand with the perfect 1,100-square-foot location for a Fuzzy’s within North Loop in Minneapolis.
“Just as we were starting to get serious about looking for a location in the Twin Cities the pandemic hit, but we knew we wanted to bring Fuzzy’s to Minneapolis,” says Fitzgerald. “We collaborated with the Fuzzy’s team to work on a concept that would fit really well in a post-pandemic environment, and that, of course, was the Taqueria.”
The Fuzzy’s Taqueria in the North Loop will open on the ground floor of the Loose-Wiles building at 701 Washington Avenue this April.
“The future of dining is as much off-premise as it is in the restaurant, so this new footprint works perfectly to serve the needs for the neighborhood,” says Pittsley.
Founded in 2003 near the Texas Christian University campus in Fort Worth, Texas, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop® is a fast-casual restaurant serving Mexican favorites with a splash of Baja. For more information, visit www.MyFuzzys.com.
SOURCE: Fuzzy’s Taco Shop