The Lone Star State’s No. 1 burrito is giving Texas the bird.
Austin-based Freebirds World Burrito, voted by consumers as the most craveable brand for two years running, has announced it plans to double its footprint in Texas in the next five years, opening enough new locations in 2021 alone to make the company up to the second-largest burrito chain in Texas, according to Freebirds.
Though the burrito biz hasn’t spilled the beans about the specific number of stores it plans to add, nor responded to an info request about particular locations, a Freebirds news release does say the main areas of growth will be in Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, though the expansion is statewide.
The expansion news comes on the heels of Freebirds’ recent interior and exterior design update, which is rolling out to all 55 locations in Texas and includes style elements that speak to Freebirds’ “deep-rooted state pride and heritage,” as well as updated interiors, colorful graffiti-style murals, and modern furniture.
Freebirds has also expanded its menu beyond its stout burrito offerings to include an array of salads, tacos, nachos, quesadillas, meal kits, bowls, and its most recent addition: low-carb bowls.
“With an updated tech stack in the works, companywide interior design refresh, and incredible tribe members and fanatics, Freebirds is taking flight across Texas. We’re on our way to becoming the biggest burrito chain in the state,” says Freebirds CEO Alex Eagle. “We’re looking at a solid 20 percent growth year-over-year.”
While the expansion could bring the number of Freebirds locations in Texas to well over 100, by comparison, competitor Chipotle has more than 250 Texas locations. But given Texans’ — and particularly Austinites’ — proclivity to support locally spawned businesses, Freebirds’ growth will likely be welcomed by burrito devotees.
Taking Freebirds under its wing is Austin-based firm The Retail Strategy, which provides commercial real estate expertise and deal support for retailers and restaurant chains.
“We are thrilled to partner with Freebirds World Burrito and provide location intelligence and strategic site selection in order to secure optimal locations across the state,” says Lauren Brunner, CEO of The Retail Strategy. “We look forward to being a part of the brand’s growth and helping more people enjoy Texas’ No. 1 burrito.”