Posados tailors growth plan to fit in markets of many sizes

Posados tailors growth plan to fit in markets of many sizes

TYLER, TEXAS —With fried tacos, quail fajitas and barbecue ribs, Posados Café Inc. has steadily built a solid name in Mexican casual dining after starting 20 years ago as a store called Mercados in this northeast Texas city.

Now, with 14 restaurants in its portfolio and a new loan to help fund expansion, owner Andrew Gugar and his team plan to add one to two new units a year in the next five years, including a smaller sibling called Posaditos this spring. —With fried tacos, quail fajitas and barbecue ribs, Posados Café Inc. has steadily built a solid name in Mexican casual dining after starting 20 years ago as a store called Mercados in this northeast Texas city.

“The philosophy is real simple,” said Scott Nordon, Posados’ chief operating officer. “We believe in the best possible food product. Andy [Gugar] is not a trained chef, but he certainly is a culinarian. He founded Posados on the premise of giving customers a great value in a great building and wonderful service, and they will come back. That’s been the premise for 20 years.” —With fried tacos, quail fajitas and barbecue ribs, Posados Café Inc. has steadily built a solid name in Mexican casual dining after starting 20 years ago as a store called Mercados in this northeast Texas city.

Posados last August obtained a $19.5 million loan through GE Capital Solutions Franchise Finance. —With fried tacos, quail fajitas and barbecue ribs, Posados Café Inc. has steadily built a solid name in Mexican casual dining after starting 20 years ago as a store called Mercados in this northeast Texas city.

“[The] deal with Posados Mexican Cafe involves more than half of its properties and is allowing it to grow by around 10 stores in the next five years,” said Alex Parker, a spokesman for the lender. “The $19.5 million loan helps to consolidate loans, as well as allowing for expansion.” —With fried tacos, quail fajitas and barbecue ribs, Posados Café Inc. has steadily built a solid name in Mexican casual dining after starting 20 years ago as a store called Mercados in this northeast Texas city.

The Posados concept over the years has ventured into the bigger markets of Dallas-Fort Worth and Shreveport, La., but the company needed a more flexible footprint as growth continued, Nordon said. Posaditos is envisioned as filling that need, he added. —With fried tacos, quail fajitas and barbecue ribs, Posados Café Inc. has steadily built a solid name in Mexican casual dining after starting 20 years ago as a store called Mercados in this northeast Texas city.

“We’re looking at a concept for smaller markets,” Nordon said. “It’s going to have the same great food products, but with a smaller footprint and slightly lower price points. Posado’s would be for the Friscos, Planos and Mesquites [all large Dallas suburbs], and Posaditos would be for Henderson and Lufkin, Texas. Those are smaller markets, but with strong name recognition in the area. It gives us the ability to play to some of these smaller markets without building the bigger-box store.” —With fried tacos, quail fajitas and barbecue ribs, Posados Café Inc. has steadily built a solid name in Mexican casual dining after starting 20 years ago as a store called Mercados in this northeast Texas city.

Posados’ most recent opening was in Lindale, Texas, northwest of its home base of Tyler. The Lindale unit is 5,800 square feet. “It has a large circular tower on the front with neon,” Nordon said. “We try to entice people with their eyes, from the curb appeal, and try to entice them with the food and service.” —With fried tacos, quail fajitas and barbecue ribs, Posados Café Inc. has steadily built a solid name in Mexican casual dining after starting 20 years ago as a store called Mercados in this northeast Texas city.

Existing units range from 8,000 to 13,000 square feet with 240 to 320 seats. “In the earlier days, we were building the big boxes, because that was what everyone was doing,” Nordon said. “But we found we could do similar volume with some of these smaller boxes, and the investment is a little lower for the real estate.” —With fried tacos, quail fajitas and barbecue ribs, Posados Café Inc. has steadily built a solid name in Mexican casual dining after starting 20 years ago as a store called Mercados in this northeast Texas city.

Posaditos is expected to measure approximately 5,000 square feet with 180 to 220 seats. The first Posaditos is to open in late May or early June in Jacksonville, Texas, south of Tyler. —With fried tacos, quail fajitas and barbecue ribs, Posados Café Inc. has steadily built a solid name in Mexican casual dining after starting 20 years ago as a store called Mercados in this northeast Texas city.

“We’re selective on our sites,” Nordon said. “We’re a small company, so we need to have home runs. The Posaditos concept will allow us to go to some other markets.” —With fried tacos, quail fajitas and barbecue ribs, Posados Café Inc. has steadily built a solid name in Mexican casual dining after starting 20 years ago as a store called Mercados in this northeast Texas city.

He added, “We do some things to make it appear larger, with false ceilings and beer bottle chandeliers and murals to trick the eye.” —With fried tacos, quail fajitas and barbecue ribs, Posados Café Inc. has steadily built a solid name in Mexican casual dining after starting 20 years ago as a store called Mercados in this northeast Texas city.

Posados’ menu is Mexican-inspired. The best sellers are the beef and chicken fajitas. Posados dinner check average is about $13 per person; lunch is $7 to $9 per person. The Posaditos menu would be similar, Nordon said. —With fried tacos, quail fajitas and barbecue ribs, Posados Café Inc. has steadily built a solid name in Mexican casual dining after starting 20 years ago as a store called Mercados in this northeast Texas city.

“You get your typical chips and hot sauce along with honey and butter and complimentary sopapillas at the end of the meal,” Nordon said. “There’s also soft-serve ice cream available. So when you think about it, your dessert is sort of on us. We include that. —With fried tacos, quail fajitas and barbecue ribs, Posados Café Inc. has steadily built a solid name in Mexican casual dining after starting 20 years ago as a store called Mercados in this northeast Texas city.

CHAIN FACTS

NAME: Posados Café Inc.HEADQUARTERS: Tyler, TexasMARKET SEGMENT: casual diningMENU: MexicanTOTAL NO. OF UNITS: 14SYSTEMWIDE SALES: more than $35 millionLEADERSHIP: Andrew Gugar, owner; Scott Nordon, chief operating officer YEAR FOUNDED: 1987 —With fried tacos, quail fajitas and barbecue ribs, Posados Café Inc. has steadily built a solid name in Mexican casual dining after starting 20 years ago as a store called Mercados in this northeast Texas city.

“The strategy is to provide the ribs and quail and fish tacos. It’s a large menu. We try to appeal to those people who crave those grilled or broiled items, but we also play strongly in the Tex-Mex area. Those traditional items are our core. We also offer fried tacos, which you don’t normally see at a Mexican restaurant.” —With fried tacos, quail fajitas and barbecue ribs, Posados Café Inc. has steadily built a solid name in Mexican casual dining after starting 20 years ago as a store called Mercados in this northeast Texas city.

The company has private sources for some of its food products. For example, it contracts with a tomato packer in California. “That helps us maintain our consistency and product quality,” Nordon said. “That’s incredibly important to us.” —With fried tacos, quail fajitas and barbecue ribs, Posados Café Inc. has steadily built a solid name in Mexican casual dining after starting 20 years ago as a store called Mercados in this northeast Texas city.

The company’s growth in Texas and Louisiana has been steady since the opening of Mercado’s [3] in August 1987. La Posados opened in Tyler in June 1988, and the company later changed the name to Posados Café. The company next opened in Longview, Texas, in May 1994. The first opening in Louisiana was in Bossier City in March 1996. The first location in the Dallas-Fort Worth area was in Mesquite in December 1999. Bedford was added in 2000, Frisco in 2001, Fossile Creek in 2002, Plano in 2004 and Austin in 2004. There are now four units in Louisiana, and the unit in Lindale, Texas, opened this year. —With fried tacos, quail fajitas and barbecue ribs, Posados Café Inc. has steadily built a solid name in Mexican casual dining after starting 20 years ago as a store called Mercados in this northeast Texas city.

Nordon said the company tracks a lot of sales information the way bigger companies do. —With fried tacos, quail fajitas and barbecue ribs, Posados Café Inc. has steadily built a solid name in Mexican casual dining after starting 20 years ago as a store called Mercados in this northeast Texas city.

“Three years ago we implemented a Web-based guest survey system,” Nordon said. “The guest has the ability to go online and fill out a short survey. The guest then gets a code and receives $5 off their next meal. Our managers have access to this information, and we use it as a training tool,” Nordon said. The company also is testing a guest loyalty program in Dallas-Fort Worth and Austin. —With fried tacos, quail fajitas and barbecue ribs, Posados Café Inc. has steadily built a solid name in Mexican casual dining after starting 20 years ago as a store called Mercados in this northeast Texas city.

“We try to keep up with the big guys,” Nordon said. —With fried tacos, quail fajitas and barbecue ribs, Posados Café Inc. has steadily built a solid name in Mexican casual dining after starting 20 years ago as a store called Mercados in this northeast Texas city.