Mexican chains taking the foodservice market by storm

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 27:  Chipotle restaurant workers fill orders for customers on the day that the company announced it will only use non-GMO ingredients in its food on April 27, 2015 in Miami, Florida.  The company announced, that the Denver-based chain would not use the GMO's, which is an organism whose genome has been altered via genetic engineering in the food served at Chipotle Mexican Grills.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Mexican brands have been identified as the fastest growing part of the food sector, and second only to coffee shops overall, as the leading chains spring up in various locations across the country.

The appearance of Mexican chains in high streets, shopping centres and transport hubs in the guise of burritos, tacos and nachos has led to the sector enjoying a staggering 146% growth over the past three years.

The latest ‘Ones to Watch’ survey from analyst firm Horizons cites Barburrito, Benito’s Hat Mexican Kitchen, Chilango and Chipotle Mexican Grill among the companies that are leading the charge.

“Mexican food is particularly suited to fast-service, on-the-go eating, yet can be efficiently personalised to order,” said Horizons analyst Nicola Knight. “Operators have this balance between speed of service and personalisation down to a fine art with many offering online ordering or ‘click and collect’ services to keep waiting time to a minimum.”

Mexican would be the number one fastest growing sector overall were it not for the explosive growth of the coffee shop sector. It remains in front based on percentage growth over the past three years.

The survey takes into account the growth of new and emerging brands with between five and 25 outlets and which have shown over 20% growth over the past three years.

The coffee shop sector continues to benefit from the proliferation of branded coffee shops as well as an increase in artisan coffee outlets.

When quizzed about the biggest challenges facing their business, 68% of the foodservice entrepreneurs that took part in the survey said property availability was their biggest concern, along with the cost of acquiring new sites.

This has increased compared with last year’s survey when 38% said finding sites was their biggest challenge. Maintaining product and store consistency throughout the growth phase and gaining planning consent were also mentioned as issues.

For the second year running Pret was named as the foodservice operator most admired by respondents. The high street giant was praised for its consistency, high standards and quality.

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