Mexican Grill

History

This Mexican Grill restaurant chain can trace it origins to the opening of the Zuma Fresh Mexican Grill in 1995 by Colorado native Anthony Miller and partner Robert Hauser at Grant Street and Sixth Avenue in Denver.

Miller and Hauser met in New York City where Miller was an investment banker with Merrill Lynch and Hauser was attending the Culinary Institute of America. Hauser developed most of the recipes and tried to design the Mexican grill menu to be healthier by replacing the use of traditional animal fats with vegetable oils and tried to use more fresh vegetables and herbs when he could. During the first year, lines stretched out the door during most evenings at dinnertime, but it usually took roughly seven minutes for customers in a 30-person line to get served. Zuma was a made up name but was also the name of a friend’s cat.mexican grill

In 1997, the name of the company was changed from Zuma to Z-Teca Mexican Grill because of a lawsuit from another restaurant using the Zuma name in Boston and by confusion caused by the similar sounding chain that was operating in the Denver area at that time. Gary Beisler was hired in 1998 to replace Miller as president and chief operating officer while Miller remained as chief executive officer. By mid-1998, Z-Teca had 21 locations in 9 states, with 10 of those locations being franchises. At that time, a chicken burrito cost only $5.

Even though Z-Teca was another made up name, there were lawsuits made by Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill in Arizona and Azteca in Washington state that the Z-Teca name was too similar to their names. To overcome these problems, the name Qdoba was invented. At the time of the name change to Qdoba, Gary Beisler replaced Miller as CEO.

Growth

Qdoba now operates over 600 fast casual restaurant locations throughout the United States. In 2003, Jack in the Box company acquired the chain from ACI Capital, a private equity management firm that was the outgrowth of commodity-trader A.C. Israel Enterprises in the 19th century.

Qdoba purchased back 25 stores located in Kentucky, Indiana, and Tennessee from ZT of Louisville, one its largest franchisees for an undisclosed sum in mid 2012.Tim Casey replaced Gary Beisler as CEO in March 2013. In June 2013, Qdoba announced it would close a total of 67 underperforming restaurants, including 18 in and around Chicago.

In October 2014, Qdoba changed their price structure to “all-inclusive” in which the price only depended on the type of protein ($7.80 for chicken or vegetarian items and $8.40 for steak, shredded beef or pork), but included all of the “extras” that previously incurred an additional charge, such as guacamole and queso sauce. Most people who routinely ordered the “extras” with their burritos did not see much of a price difference after the new prices went into effect.

Fare & Catering

Qdoba serves burritos made in the San Francisco burrito style, tacos, quesadillas, taco salads, chile con queso, tortilla soup, Mexican gumbo, and fresh guacamole. The restaurant fits into the “fast casual” category, offering both quick service and a higher quality of food than typical fast-food restaurants. Customers order by selecting an entrée then choosing its ingredients. All of the items are made in plain view of the customer. The chain’s current slogan is “We Live Food.”catering

In addition to offering the finest fresh Mexican foods, Qdoba offer catering at your location. Our locally owned locations offer delivered catering in the Peoria, East Peoria, Moline and Springfield areas. Click on the location you desire and we will deliver fresh, hot catering to your next event!

Qdoba has also opened restaurants in non-traditional locations such as directly on college campuses and may participate in some college meal plans.