Reyeses spread the ‘dilla’ brand beyond the Valley, California

Locally owned Quesadilla Gorilla launches franchise program throughout several states, hopes to open six stores by year’s end, 30 locations by December 2023

VISALIA – Quesadilla lovers across the country should be excited as Quesadilla Gorilla begins their journey of spreading peace love and dillas throughout the states one store at a time. 

The locally loved Quesadilla Gorilla has officially announced they launched their franchise program. They are looking to expand in several locations throughout the United States. Since announcing the program only a few weeks ago, co-owner Miguel Reyes – along with his wife Mikayla – said they have already received an incredible amount of interested parties who wish to open up a franchise. However, not just anyone can open up a store, the Reyes’ are looking for owner-operators and individuals who are committed to their communities. He said it has been a surreal experience and they are excited about this next journey. 

“People want to invest in something that is their own, and they want to start something that’s their own and franchising…is kind of figured out… for you and I think there’s a lot of scalability in that,” Reyes said.

On Oct. 10, Quesadilla Gorilla took to social media to announce this huge step for the company. For the husband and wife duo, this is not somewhere they thought they would be when they opened up shop in 2013. Currently they have restaurants in Visalia, Fresno, Hanford and Three Rivers. Now, the company has created a website for interested parties and already has leads in Idaho, Texas, and Colorado. 

Reyes said they are even flying out to Nashville, Tenn. to look into a lead next week. The organization has been expanding throughout the Valley for some time and most recently they opened up a location outside of the Valley in San Luis Obispo.

Currently they are looking to franchise outside of California, and are in the process of finalizing their documents with the state. They are hopeful they will be able to open up to Californians within the next two to six months. As it stands now, Reyes’ plan is to sell six franchises by the end of 2022. After that, the plan is to sell two a month throughout 2023 expanding to about 30 locations by next December. Currently the goal is to reach about 100 open stores in five years at a rate of 20 to 30 stores per year according to Reyes. Right now, reaching that number is the main focus and they will determine where to go after that.

“We want to focus and make sure that we are really sound and we have a really solid foundation,” Reyes said. “I don’t know if we want to scale the capability or capacity [of 500 stores], but I don’t see 100 as being the end number either.”

Currently Reyes said they have not done any special advertising except for what they have posted on their social media accounts. He said they have some ideas of locations where they would like to set up shop, but it ultimately depends on interested individuals who are willing to carry their brand with them. 

The company is hoping to initially expand in three to four different locations throughout Idaho: Boise, Moscow, Meridian and Coeur d’Alene. In addition to Idaho, Reyes said they are looking at targeting college towns, like College Station in Texas. 

“We’re targeting these college towns first, because I think they will definitely support the brand,” Reyes said. 

The Brand

The brand is important to the Reyes’. Quesadilla Gorilla is not just a restaurant, as much as it is an environment built on the idea of “peace, love and dillas.” They want to create an atmosphere with great customer service, community involvement and allow customers to feel welcomed and wanted. Reyes said that is what they are looking for in those who are interested in becoming a part of their journey, even in some of the larger cities like Nashville.

“Yes we are going to be a franchise and…technically a chain now, but we still [want to] have that same local feel in these different communities,” Reyes said. 

Each franchisee will have a few options as to which type of store they want to open. They will be able to choose between a shop that has a full bar or beer only, and there is a floor plan for both.  Each shop will range from 1,600 square feet with just a beer bar to 2,000 square feet with a full bar. Reyes said ideally each location will have anywhere from 12-15 employees, but each store will have opportunity for growth. 

As a company, Reyes said they are working on mechanizing each current location so they all function the same. In the Valley, the locations are working to expand each store’s bar to have them all be similar. If the location is able to acquire a liquor license they have done so and Reyes said they are working toward highlighting a tequila program with margaritas as well. As far as the beer goes, they will have mostly a mix of Mexican beers and lagers that pair well with quesadillas. 

Funding

A lot of this was made possible through what is called a bond raiser through the small business bond marketplace, SMBX. Quesadilla Gorilla is one of the first businesses to raise money more than once on this platform. In 2019, they raised their goal of $165,000 on the platform and Reyes said they had community members who still wanted to participate that weren’t able to. So in June of this year, the company began another bond raise hoping to reach a goal of $500,000. Even though they fell short of their goal, they still raised a little over $380,000. A portion of the funding went to help with the franchise program and the remainder went to help fund the current locations. 

The bond program allows community members and those interested in investing in something the opportunity to purchase a bond on a specific business. That business will then pay back all the individuals who bought into their company at a particular rate of interest. Their most recent bond raise was for a seven year bond and will be paid back at 7.5% interest. Reyes said there is always the possibility of an additional bond raise in the near future.  

How?

Reyes said one good thing that came out of the Covid-19 pandemic was the virtual world. Because a lot of things moved to be virtual it has made the training process for him much easier. Now individuals who are interested in opening up a franchise simply have to attend virtual training rather than fly to the Central Valley. However, both options will be available. 

Reyes said he has a team around him that helps him with all the different moving pieces, but ultimately he is in charge of training. After the franchisees have mastered their trade and been open and operating for six months, they will have the opportunity to expand to include a catering department. It is not mandatory for stores to offer the catering option, but it is highly recommended.  

Anyone who is interested in joining the Quesadilla Gorilla franchise is invited to visit their website, https://ownaquesadillagorilla.com/ 

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