Monday, August 3, 2020

[EXCLUSIVE] DosBros Hoping to Break Tennessee Burrito Curse in Sandy Springs

A Tennessee-based burrito joint is seemingly hoping that the third time's the charm when it comes opening in metro Atlanta.  DosBros Fresh Mexican Grill plans later this year to expand their footprint beyond their home market of Tennessee into metro Atlanta with an outpost in Sandy Springs.  DosBros is the third Tennessee-based burrito business to enter the metro Atlanta market in recent years following Mojo Burrito [Chattanooga] which opened in Dunwoody in 2014, and Blue Coast Burrito [Nashville] which opened in Berkeley Heights in 2017.  
As ToNeTo Atlanta readers will recall, neither of the previous two Tennessee imports fared well in their Atlanta expansions with Mojo closing after about eight months in business and Blue Coast lasting 13 months.  

Business partners Kush Shah and Milan Patel opened the first DosBros in the Chattanooga suburb of Cleveland in 2015.  In the years since, the duo, who both previously ran frozen yogurt businesses, have expanded their Mexican concept to include twelve locations in Tennessee with three more on the way, plus their planned Sandy Springs unit and another in Raleigh, North Carolina, also a new market for the concept.    

Shah openly says that the inspiration for DosBros came from some of "the big guys" in the quick-serve Mexican space, presumably the likes of Moe's Southwest Grill, Chipotle Mexican Grill, and Qdoba Mexican Eats, among others.  

The business partners are definitely proud of the success they have achieved. 

"Our process works. Our track record is best in class. We’re one of the fastest growing restaurant chains in the Southeast. Most importantly, people love our food! 12 units in 5 years, 3 under construction, 20+ in the franchise pipeline, and much room to grow! Are you ready to be a Bro?"
ToNeTo Atlanta recently visited the corporately run Cleveland location and found it OK, but by no means outstanding.  The restaurant was clean, the food seemed fresh and the pricing was fair, but there was nothing particularly noteworthy that would help the concept stand out in a market as competitive as metro Atlanta, where both national chains and local favorites are already well-entrenched.  

Interestingly, on our visit, when we asked for half chicken/half tofu in our burrito bowl, we were told that we would be charged additional for the tofu.  Making such a request at Moe's, Willy's, Chipotle and elsewhere would not come with an extra charge, and for this to have been the response was puzzling and troubling with the chain looking to enter new markets and hoping to compete with established chains.  

New market penetration is never easy and a cute name alone will not carry this concept.  The food is not bad, but it's simply not good enough nor does the menu provide enough options to convert customers of other concepts to a "bro" long-term.  

Sandy Springs has been an especially tough market for quick-serve Mexican chains with Barberitos and Moe's both having closed along Roswell Road in recent years and Baja Fresh having closed several years back in a space now occupied by Hearth Pizza Tavern.  
DosBros does already have a presence in Georgia having opened franchised locations in Dalton in 2018 and Rome in 2019, but extrapolating metro Atlanta success from their small market success seems risky at best.  

Sources tell us that Shah plans to relocate to metro Atlanta to steer the company's expansion and that the Sandy Springs location will be a corporately owned restaurant.  

ToNeTo Atlanta made several attempts via phone and social media to obtain comment from the "bros" at DosBros on their planned Atlanta expansion, but received no replies/comment.  

Have you been to DosBros Fresh Mexican Grill?  Do you think DosBros is wise to enter the Atlanta market?  What is your favorite quick-serve Mexican eatery?

Please share your thoughts below.  


André said...

I've never been but lived in Ooltewah Tennessee, right next to Cleveland, until 2016. I heard a lot of good things about Dos Bros but never had an interest to try it. Looking forward to maybe trying it here.

Anonymous said...

Former Atlanta resident now living in Nashville. I've been to one of their locations here and it pales in comparison to Moe's and Chipotle. I give them a year in Sandy Springs.

Inside Peachtree Corners said...

Maybe I missed it, but where in Sandy Springs were they planning?

Anonymous said...

Looks exactly like a Chipotle. Why bother?

Anonymous said...

it will fail.
only chipotle has been able to hang with willy's, moe's, and local burrito joints.

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