Year of Local
This is the 18th in a series of submitted stories produced by the Year of Local, a collaborative project highlighting businesses and not-for-profit organizations in Sarnia.
Donna Hogan says her two teenage sons were instrumental in her decision to open Mucho Burrito.
“My boys were at a soccer tournament in Indiana, and they tried a similar concept franchise. They couldn’t stop talking about how fresh and delicious it was,” she said.
“They explained that you ordered at the counter, but the food was Mexican and the ingredients were all fresh.”
Her interest was piqued. Then on a trip to Chicago she had her own conversion.
“I wasn’t hungry, but I could smell the smoke of the barbeque, the music was playing and people were talking, and before I knew it I was in line.
“When I came home, I told the boys how I’d been dreaming about this burrito bowl filled with fresh ingredients.”
Hogan enlisted the help of her sons, Max and Blake, to do market research. At one location, the food wasn’t very good but the décor was nice. At another, the food was good but it lacked a welcoming vibe, it was too sterile, she said.
“When we walked into Mucho Burrito, we immediately loved the atmosphere. We loved the food also. The boys asked me if we could get one,” she said with a smile.
“I contacted the company and found out that it was a Canadian-based company started by two brothers, and I really liked that.”
Nevertheless, there were hurdles.
“We opened in January 2015. One of the obstacles in getting the franchise was the location,”she said.
Hogan encouraged head office to see the potential in the location at 1107 Lambton Mall Rd., and it did. Then the company was sold and she had to sell the new owners all over again.
She said she wanted the franchise more than anyone else.
“I got on the phone to head office, I made an appointment and I drove the three hours to Toronto to meet with them in person. I spelled it out for them. It was a roller coaster ride but it worked out in the end.”
The restaurant’s opening set a new record for Facebook likes for the franchise, a point of pride for Hogan. It also beat the opening day, opening week, and first full month sales records for the brand.
Mucho Burrito works with On the Dot Delivery Service. It is a licensed establishment and serves selections from local brewery Refined Fool. It also cater events from Mexican-themed parties to large corporate lunches.
And it has begun offering select menu items for the 02 Fuel fitness program.
Hogan said her sons eat regularly at Mucho Burrito.
“They like that there are so many options and that it’s healthy, and I do too.”