Salsarita's Fresh Cantina Experiences Strong Growth in First Half of 2009

Rapidly Growing Fresh-Mex Franchise Opens Four New Restaurants; Signs Agreements for 28 New Locations with Goal of 200 Restaurants by 2012

CHARLOTTE, N.C., June 22 // PRNewswire // -- Salsarita's Fresh Cantina, one of the nation's fastest growing, fast-casual Mexican restaurant chains has experienced great success in 2009 with the opening of four new restaurants and signed agreements for 28 more locations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The company is currently closing in on its first hundred restaurants with the goal of opening 200 restaurants by 2012.

With new locations opening across the country, the company is quickly gaining brand recognition and a reputation for quality and legendary hospitality. Despite the economic downturn, Salsarita's has announced that Minneapolis, Jacksonville, Detroit, Raleigh-Durham, Birmingham, Nashville, Upstate New York and Baltimore will be key markets for its 2009 expansion plans.

"We are very excited about the progress we've made in the first half of 2009 and are looking to expand our high-quality, Fresh-Mexican concept to new and existing markets across the country," said Paul Mangiamele, president and CEO, Salsarita's Fresh Cantina. "With successful penetration in select southern and northeastern markets, Salsarita's is setting its sights on building a nationally competitive franchise brand."

Most recently, Salsarita's opened two restaurants in Charlotte, NC and single units in Murfreesboro and Knoxville, TN. A 20 unit store development agreement was signed in the Upstate New York region and agreements with franchisees have been signed in Clarence, NY, Overland Park, KS, Greenville, NC and Puerto Rico.

Salsarita's is currently looking for qualified candidates with food service, operations or real estate experience to join its team as area representatives, area developers or single-unit franchisees. The estimated initial investment is between $296,700 and $577,100 depending on the real estate selection ranging from 2,200 to 2,700 square-feet, which is inclusive of the $25,000 franchise fee. The company's comprehensive training and support program includes a three-week Burrito Boot Camp at the corporate headquarters, pre- and post-grand opening on-site support and ongoing business coaching.

"With more customers visiting fast-casual concepts instead of traditional full-service, sit-down restaurants, Salsarita's is well positioned to succeed during this time of economic uncertainty," said Mangiamele. "Fresh-Mexican is an up and coming concept and Salsarita's fills this growing niche in the franchise industry."

Salsarita's specializes in serving made-to-order burritos, tacos, tortilla, pizza's and taco salads. Prepared fresh-daily in each restaurant, guests can enjoy high-quality dishes featuring ground beef, grilled chicken, grilled steak, or pork, grilled shrimp and fresh vegetables. Salsarita's also offers a choice of 13 delicious fillings and four homemade salsas. Every order is prepared in full view of customers in a 700-square-foot display kitchen with a contemporary Hispanic motif.

About Salsarita's Fresh Cantina

Founded in 2000, Salsarita's Fresh Cantina is one of the fastest-growing Mexican fast-casual Mexican restaurant chains, recognized for its people, food and world-class hospitality. Customers can create delicious made-to-order meals from a flavorful Mexican menu that offers burritos, tacos, quesadillas, nachos, tortilla-crusted pizzas and salads with a wide selection of meats, fresh vegetables and homemade salsas in lively, family-friendly environments. The company is currently closing in on its first hundred restaurants with the goal of opening 200 restaurants by the end of 2012.

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