Tijuana Flats

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Tijuana Flats Tex-Mex
Founded1995; 26 years ago (1995) in Winter Park, Florida
FounderBrian Wheeler
HeadquartersMaitland, Florida, U.S.
Number of locations
Area served
Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Indiana
Key people
Brian Wright CEO
Louie Psallidas CFO
Number of employees
3,000 (2016)
Footnotes / references

Tijuana Flats Tex-Mex is a privately-held American restaurant chain serving Tex-Mex cuisine. It has over 135 locations (117 company owned & 18 franchised) throughout Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, and Indiana.[1] 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 taking a seat.

The restaurant was founded in Winter Park, Florida, in 1995 by University of Central Florida graduate Brian Wheeler with US$20,000 in loans. The company had 18 locations before expanding out-of-state in 2004.


Tijuana Flats was started in Winter Park, Florida.[2] It was modeled after Burrito Brothers, a Mexican restaurant in Gainesville, Florida[3] and funded with $20,000[4] in borrowed money from Wheeler's family.[3][5] 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.[3][6] In 1999, Fitch invested in the company and was appointed its CEO to expand the company.[6] 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.[3]

Tijuana Flats had six locations by 2001,[4] which grew to 18 locations in 2004[7] and 65 by 2009.[8] 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[9] In 2007, Tijuana Flats shifted from a franchise model to corporate-owned stores.[10] 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[11] and started donating profits from the Just in Queso hot sauce to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.[12]

A hot sauce bar from Tijuana Flats


Tijuana Flats’ entrées include burritos, burrito bowls, chimichangas, dos tacos, 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 classic shredded and blackened chicken, beef, steak, refried and black beans. 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.[13]

Guests may also order a starter of chips with salsa, queso, guacamole, or a trio of all three; a side of salsa, pico de gallo, queso, guac, rice, or beans; and a dessert of churros or cookie dough flautas. Burrito and taco meal kits are also available.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Ruggless, Ron (May 29, 2019). "Tijuana Flats names 3 new executives". Nations Restaurant News. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  2. ^ Gregory, Evan (December 13, 2012). "New UCF Tijuana Flats Location". Beyond UCF, Business, Food, News. University of Central Florida. Retrieved January 6, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d Joseph, Scott (July 20, 2008). "Tijuana Flats – a straight-up success story". Orlando Sentinel. pp. F. 10.
  4. ^ a b Hayes, J. (2001). Menu specials, simplified operations heat up Tijuana Flats brand. Nation's Restaurant News, 35(26), 26.
  5. ^ Hayes, J. (2003). Big-burrito chain Tijuana Flats spices up plans for expansion. Nation's Restaurant News, 37(50), 28.
  6. ^ a b Bowers, Irene (November 22, 2007). "Tijuana Flats heats up scene with second eatery opening". The Virginian-Pilot. p. 32.
  7. ^ Brett, Jennifer (October 7, 2004). "'Fast-casual' food comes to Georgia via Tijuana Flats". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. pp. 12JJ.
  8. ^ "Tijuana Flats Expands". Tampa Tribune (Florida). January 23, 2009. p. 5.
  9. ^ Uribarri, Adrian (August 17, 2005). "A hot new recipe for training". pp. C1.
  10. ^ "Tijuana Flats shelves franchising as way to build Tex-Mex chain". The Orlando Sentinel. May 31, 2007.
  11. ^ Palm, Anika (March 6, 2010). "Veteran gets home makeover". Orlando Sentinel.
  12. ^ Clark, Anthony (September 13, 2007). "Tijuana Flats to Donate Hot Sauce Proceeds". Gainesville. Retrieved January 8, 2013.
  13. ^ a b "Tex-Mex Food How You Like It – Tijuana Flats". Tijuana Flats.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 28°38′02″N 81°23′33″W / 28.6338°N 81.3925°W / 28.6338; -81.3925