Client Spotlight : Fiesta Restaurant Group

Having completed a 4th ground-up and more than 2 dozen remodels for Fiesta Restaurant Group,
Wyatt Management talks with FRG’s Senior Construction Manager, Brad Vickers, about the company’s
growth strategy.

Q. You’ve been in construction management for a long time, where did you get your start?

A. I went to University of Houston for civil engineering and I’ve been in construction management since the mid-90’s. I’ve worked both on the corporate side and as a consultant starting at Landry’s Seafood. I worked for McDonald’s while I was at a construction management firm and now I’m back on the corporate side with Fiesta Restaurant Group.

Q. Taco Cabana has been around for almost 40 years. There’s certainly a lot of competition in Mexican fare here in Houston, to what would you attribute Taco Cabana’s success?

A. I’d probably have to say good food with a broad appeal at a compelling value.
(WM) I’d imagine the margarita machines don’t hurt. 
Yes, the margaritas are certainly a plus.

Taco Cabana

Q. You built Taco Cabana and Pollo Tropical right next to each other in Kingwood. What was the rationale for that? Wouldn’t that cause competition between the two for customers? 

A. Not at all. The way we see it, we win either way. In terms of them being next door to each other, there wasn’t really some grand plan other than the land was available, it’s a good location and it certainly made efficiencies in terms of having one GC build both stores.

Q. As you well know, general contractors are faced with razor thin margins today. Clients want the highest quality at the lowest price and many GC’s make up their margins on Change Orders after they’ve been selected as the low bidder. Do you find this to be the case? 

A. Absolutely. My job is to make sure that all the bids are comparing apples to apples so that doesn’t happen, but it often does. We haven’t had that experience with Wyatt Management though, which is why we like working with you.

Q. What sort of ROI are you seeing post-remodel and what does the future look like for Fiesta Restaurant Group? 

A. We’re seeing an uptick in sales of 2-5% per store. With a 10% annual growth goal, we’re in constant expansion mode. We’ve started a new concept called Cabana Grill with locations in Atlanta and Florida, and the future is bright.

Pollo Tropical / Kingwood, Texas