Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, Southern California-based casual dining company Xperience Restaurant Group was among several casual dining companies on an upward movement. The Cypress, Calif.-based company, which owns some of the most popular Mexican casual dining brands in California including Chevys Fresh Mex and El Torito, was remodeling restaurants and had just purchased two upscale brands, Sol Cocina and Solita Tacos & Margaritas.
A handful of the company’s 64 restaurants have started to open dining rooms in Florida and California. The capital investments the company made in each brand prior to COVID-19 is helping Xperience as it enters the reopening phase.
Still reopening is challenging. In Xperience’s home state, the guidelines are both tough and flexible, CEO Randy Sharpe said during our latest NRN Extra Serving podcast.
The company’s brands are known for tableside guacamole preparation and Sunday buffet breakfast. Bit most states, including California, want restaurants to discontinue such practices.
“That [tableside prep] will pose a little bit of a challenge,” Sharpe said.
California is also not letting restaurants open their bars, another challenge for Xperience whose tequila bars and lounges are popular with happy hour crowds.
But workarounds are part of reopening, and Xperience is ready to adapt and serve guests safely as restaurants are allowed to reopen for dine-in service.
Sharpe discusses Xperience’s playbook in our podcast.
Listen to our conversation.
Xperience’s portfolio includes casual dining chains El Torito, El Torito Grill, Acapulco and Chevys and independent upscale casual brands Solita and Sol Cocina, Who Song & Larry’s in Vancouver, Wash., Sinigual in New York City and Las Brisas in Laguna Beach, Calif. Xperience also manages four Pink Taco restaurants under a separate agreement.
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