June 7, 2011

Local Restaurant Chain Expanding in Challenging Market

By Jeremy Cohen, partner, Hartman Simons

I am always excited to hear the buzz on the street about Chepe’s Mexican Grill’s recent growth. As the chain’s legal counsel since its inception in 2008, and as a regular at the Johnson Ferry Road location (their fajitas are to die for), I have a vested interest in Chepe’s success.

Our Firm helped form the corporation for Chepe’s back in 2008 and have negotiated leases for all four of their current locations, as well as its 5th location, slated to open in Alpharetta in July. And as big fans of Chepe’s, my wife and kids also are excited the chain keeps expanding during a time when many restaurant chains are closing stores.

Jeremy eating chepes This success is not by chance. In addition to having great food, (Chepe’s won “best taco” the last two years in the AJC’s survey of Mexican restaurants), Chepe’s is a perfect example of a chain practicing smart growth. Here are three reasons why the owners have been successful.

#1 Chepe’s put the right team in place. The owners put together a team of advisors experienced in growing restaurant chains. It is critical to bring individuals together who are familiar with the market and industry to give a new chain the best shot at taking off.

#2 Chepe’s know its consumer. The owners understand the target demographic and make the locations convenient for those customers.

#3 Chepe’s has resisted “Starbucks Syndrome.” We all remember when Starbucks were popping up around every corner. Chepe’s growth is more controlled. Instead of rapid-fire expansion at the first hint of success, growth has been closely monitored and calculated.  

Please be sure to check out Chepe’s website to find a location near you. After all this blogging, I think it is time for me to go pick up some Chepe’s for lunch!

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