|Founded||1995 in Winter Park, Florida|
|Headquarters||Maitland, Florida, U.S.|
Number of locations
Number of employees
Tijuana Flats Tex-Mex is an American restaurant chain serving Tex-Mex cuisine. It has over 135 locations throughout Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and Indiana. Tijuana Flats restaurants are fast-casual hybrids with fresh food, hot sauce bars, art murals and off-beat culture. Customers order at the front counter and are served after sitting.
The restaurant was founded in Winter Park, FL in 1995 by University of Central Florida graduate Brian Wheeler with $20,000 in loans. The company had 18 locations before expanding out-of-state in 2004.
Tijuana Flats was started in Winter Park, Florida. It was modeled after Burrito Brothers, a Mexican restaurant in Gainesville, Florida and funded with $20,000 in borrowed money from Wheeler's family. Students from Wheeler's former college made up some of the restaurant's early customers.
After the third location was opened, a semi-retired restaurant executive, Camp Fitch, was invited to Tijuana Flats by his golf partner. In 1999, Fitch invested in the company and was appointed its CEO to expand the company. When the fourth location opened, the founder's dad, Chester Wheeler, was reimbursed for his $20,000 loan used to start the company and joined as the CFO.
Tijuana Flats had six locations by 2001, which grew to 18 locations in 2004 and 65 by 2009. In 2005, Tijuana Flats built its training center for restaurant managers in Winter Park. Today, the restaurant support and training center is located at the Tijuana Flats HQ in Maitland, FL In 2007, Tijuana Flats shifted from a franchise model to corporate-owned stores. That same year Tijuana Flats created its non-profit arm, the Just in Queso Foundation. The Foundation donated $46,000 to remodel the home of a handicapped war vet and started donating profits from the Just in Queso hot sauce to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Tijuana Flats’ entrées include burritos, burrito bowls, chimichangas, dos tacos, Mexican pizzas, flautas, fresh salads, nachos, and quesadillas. Guests have their choice of tortilla with flour and wheat as well as hard and soft corn with tacos. All items except for the flat outrageous items come with their choice of toppings of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, sour cream, and jalapeños as well as fillings including chipotle and blackened chicken, beef, steak, refried and black beans (fish is available on certain entrées). There are also the options to make the entrées Powerlite with low-fat cheese and sour cream; smothered with queso, chipotle sauce, or verde sauce; megajuana with double meat and cheese; and a meal with rice, beans, and drink. There are also secret menu items such as the Mexican Pizza and Double Stack Tacos as well as Atom Bombs when they are available.
Guests may also order a starter of chips with salsa, queso, guacamole, or a trio of all three; a side of salsa, pineapple salsa, queso, quac, rice, or beans; and a dessert of churros or cookie dough flautas. Burrito and taco meal kits are also available.
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