Hoping to stand out further from the crowded fast-casual Mexican space, Qdoba Mexican Grill changed its name to Qdoba Mexican Eats.
The new name is the latest step in an ongoing effort to reinvent the Qdoba brand. The chain’s website was relaunched Tuesday with the new name, and restaurants have new staff uniforms. A new logo based on a simple “Q” is now used across social media channels:
If your lunch today came from a container labeled “Tuesday” you might want to make a better choice. #chooseflavor— Qdoba (@qdoba) October 15, 2015
The brand evolution began in 2013, when parent company Jack in the Box Inc., based in San Diego, closed 62 underperforming Qdoba locations and hired a new brand president, Tim Casey, charging him with bringing the fast-casual Mexican brand out from under the shadows of competitors like Chipotle Mexican Grill.
After conducting extensive research, Casey began a comprehensive overhaul.
In 2014, Qdoba reworked its menu pricing to a tiered structure built around choice of protein, rather than “nickel and diming” guests by asking them to pay extra for ingredients like guacamole or the brand’s popular queso sauce.
Earlier this year, the chain unveiled a new “in your face” prototype design in tests for restaurants to further the brand reinvention.
Megan Prejzner, Qdoba spokeswoman, said new prototype test units with the new name are being built in both new and existing markets, though the number is being left unclear because Jack in the Box Inc. has not yet given guidance for 2016.
In addition the “Qdoba Mexican Eats” moniker will change on signage at “a small set of existing locations” that will be transformed with the new prototype design, she said.
For a transition period, however, the former name will remain in play across most of the more than 600-unit chain as the company evaluates design elements that will be used going forward.
Throughout the brand evolution process, Qdoba, has also reworked its menu, introducing dishes with bolder flavors that attempt to further differentiate the brand.
On Tuesday, for example, the chain introduced a new line of six Knockout Tacos with slow-cooked and grilled meats on soft corn or flour tortillas, which offer a contemporary twist on upscale street tacos.
- Drunken Yardbird with tequila lime chicken, guacamole, salsa verde, cilantro, minced onion and cotija cheese.
- Mad Rancher with grilled chicken, bacon, quacamole, picante ranch, lettuce, pico de gallo and cotija.
- Bohemian Veg, with cheese, black beans, corn salsa, guacamole, salsa verde, minced onions, cilantro and cotija.
- Two Timer with pulled pork, salsa roja, shredded cheese, lettuce, pico de gallo, cotija and a crispy taco wrapped in a flour tortilla with three-cheese queso.
- Triple Threat, with steak, bacon, three-cheese queso, fajita veggies, pico de gallo and cotija.
- The Gladiator with steak, bacon, pico de gallo, lettuce, Mexican Caesar dressing, cilantro and cotija.
The recommended price is $3.50 for tacos individually or any three for $9.
The moves have driven steady increases in Qdoba’s same-store sales, which in the July 5-ended second quarter increased 7.7 percent systemwide, though transactions dipped 1.1 percent for the quarter.