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Barberitos Southwestern Grille and Cantina

In order to keep consistency in excellent customer service, staff receive customer service training regularly in addition to training about food preparation.

Another essential component of Barberitos is cleanliness. "We clean every piece of equipment daily," Kitchens says. "We break down the chargrill, clean it, and put every piece back exactly how it was originally." A four-compartment dish sink in the back of the house allows staff to clean pots and pans. There's no need for pulpers, Kitchens says, because "we don't have a lot of waste."

Corporate inspections help keep the food quality and sanitation levels high. "We offer franchisees a lot of support by sending someone to each store every six weeks for a 400-point inspection," Kitchens says. "We also help out with profitability and help analyze the profit and loss statements. We'll do things like weigh burritos and measure scoop size of meat to be sure the franchisees are on target both for their profitability and for customers' satisfaction. My cell is on 24 hours a day for franchisees, and they know it."

All the support and quality control is essential to the success of Barberitos' fast-track growth plans. "If something goes wrong, we want to be on-site that day," Kitchens say. "We believe in taking care of issues immediately so problems don't build up." This support is proving to be worth the effort over time. Kitchens points to the fact that 6 of the 10 stores that had their highest sales month in March 2012 have been open for more than six years.

Campaigning for Weight Loss

In January 2012 Barberitos launched its 2012 Healthy Campaign to promote weight loss and wellness. The campaign kicked off with an alternative healthy menu and a nutrition calculator featured on the website.

To show that Barberitos and a healthy lifestyle can be possible, Barberitos featured Jay Lowe, a customer from Thomasville, Ga., who lost more than 70 pounds by exercising regularly and eating Barberitos eight times per week for four months. To take this a step further, Barberitos hosted a 90-day Healthy Challenge that provided 7 contestants with 8 Barberitos healthy meals per week and a personal trainer who worked with them outdoors twice a week.

All of the contestants shed pounds and become healthier from eating Barberitos and working out on a regular basis. The female winner, Emily Wilkins, lost 25.8 pounds and 15.36 percent of her body fat. The male winner, Daniel Ford, lost 64.8 pounds and 23.31 percent of his body fat.

"We are thrilled with the great results the contestants had during the Barberitos Challenge," says founder and CEO, Downing Barber. "We are trying to let customers know that they can get fit and healthy by eating off the Barberitos Healthy Menu and incorporating activity into their lives."