Q&A: Jim Garcia, El Pinto Restaurant & Cantina

New Mexico’s largest restaurant operation is in the business of making friends

While many restaurants struggled through the recession, New Mexico’s largest operation, the 1,020-seat El Pinto Restaurant & Cantina, thrived by amping up its engagement with guests and tapping social media to enhance the relationship.

Sales at the family-owned El Pinto in Albuquerque, N.M., have increased in each of the past 10 years, said Jim A. Garcia, El Pinto’s director of operations. In 2010, for example, sales at the restaurant alone rose more than 7 percent to p

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