The view from a Costa Vida kitchen looking out toward the prep line, with out-of-focus employees working the grills and serving guests. In the foreground, a woman with a ponytail stands with her back to the camera, the words “Made from Scratch” on the back of her shirt.

Everything works better when you do things the right way

At Costa, we develop restaurant best practices for our franchisees by mixing tried-and-true ideas with innovative and unique initiatives

At Costa Vida, we strive to excel in everything we do. From our operations to our guest service, we aim to be top-notch. We want to create an amazing experience for guests and an amazing opportunity for our franchise owners, and the best way to do that is to take a hands-on approach in helping our franchisees implement rigorous restaurant best practices, as well as developing and testing innovative ideas ourselves.

We put a high level of ambition and passion into everything we do, and it shows in our results. In 2016, our average annual sales increased at three times the rate of overall restaurant industry growth. We’ve opened a number of new locations, and we’re continuing to evolve and grow with talented owners and operators nationwide.

Hands-on approach means we see what owners see

While our focus is on helping our franchisees grow, we also own a small number of corporate locations, most of them near our headquarters in the Salt Lake City area. That helps us maintain more of a connection to the challenges and opportunities our franchise owners face every day, and it also allows us to test new initiatives and technologies ourselves, instead of forcing our franchisees to be our guinea pigs.

“I think it’s important that Costa Vida owns and operates their own stores, because they’re not going to impose something upon us that they’re not willing to do themselves. They lead the way,” says multi-unit franchise partner Brad Davis. “When they want to launch a new product or a new initiative, they do it in their stores first and they prove its worth to us, and we can get behind it that much faster.”

Innovative experiments lead to new restaurant best practices

We are constantly looking at new things to try, because we can’t make the business better if we’re not willing to test new ways to improve operations and engage with guests. In our own stores, we can make sure we know what works before our franchisees roll them out.

“The reason I wanted to be involved in Costa Vida is that they’re an ever-changing business,” says Portland, OR, franchisee Daniel Richardson. “They’re constantly growing. They’re making changes to fit the needs of our guests, and they embrace technology.”

We have standard restaurant best practices like online ordering and our loyalty app, but we also explore unique projects like our Phaceology emotion-recognition system. Phaceology is an unobtrusive way to measure the emotions of guests and employees, alerting managers to issues and allowing them to resolve them before the guest has even left the store.

That can turn guests who might never have come back into loyal, repeat customers. The technology even allows multi-unit owners to monitor all their stores at once, in real time, and our internal testing has shown measurable, positive impacts including improved employee performance and greater guest satisfaction and retention. And it’s just one of many initiatives the Costa team has undertaken to help our franchisees run better and more successful restaurants.

Explore the Costa franchise opportunity

Fill out the form on this page to download our franchise information report and start a conversation. If you’d like to learn more about how we’ve developed and refined our restaurant’s best practices for success, visit our other research pages.

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