Benito’s returns to expansion trail with first franchised site

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Benito’s returns to expansion trail with first franchised site opening in Luton Airport

Related tags Benito's Mexican cuisine Multi-site QSR Franchise

Mexican burrito brand Benito’s is returning to the expansion trail this month with the launch of its first franchised site in the departure lounge of London Luton Airport.

The opening is a partnership between Benito’s owner Elangeni Hospitality and franchisee Airport Retail Enterprises UK Ltd (ARE).

“We’re incredibly excited about opening our first franchised Benito’s store with our franchise partners, ARE,” says Michael Pearson, chairman of Elangeni.

“Our relationship with the ARE team has developed over a number of years and the Benito’s store in London Luton Airport is the culmination of a great deal of work on both sides to ensure we deliver a passenger experience that surpasses all expectations of a Mexican brand.”

Benito’s, formerly known as Benito’s Hat, originally launched back in 2008 and at its peak had around eight sites primarily based in the capital.

However, the brand has faced an extended period of turbulence in recent years that culminated in it being sold to Elangeni Hospitality in a pre-pack administration deal back in March 2020.

As a result, Benito’s now only operates a single site within Westgate Oxford shopping centre.

The Luton Airport site will bring the group’s estate to two.

Pearson, who has overseen the operations at Benito’s since 2017, tells Restaurant ​that Elangeni has worked hard to ‘reinvent’ the Benito’s brand, shifting it away from its fast casual roots to focus on a QSR model.

“QSR is the format we believe is the most suitable, practical and commercially viable as a template for growth in the current climate,” he says.

Following the opening in Luton, the group is now looking to further expansion with at least one new company site and an additional franchised location planned for next year.

Company stores will be focused in the Midlands and M40 corridor until the group reaches a size that ‘will facilitate further geographical expansion’.

“Growth will be organic and considered,” Pearson adds. “We’re in no rush.”

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