Daniel Richardson, Franchise Partner and Portland Area Developer

Q&A with Franchise Partner and Area Developer Daniel Richardson

Richardson’s Portland-area Costa Vida fulfills a lifelong dream of restaurant ownership, with more locations already in the works

For new Franchise Partner and Portland, OR, Area Developer Daniel Richardson, opening a Costa Vida franchise fulfilled a long-standing dream of restaurant ownership, and he says it couldn’t have happened without the support and help he’s received from the Costa Vida family. Read on to find out more about his experiences opening his restaurant and his plans for more.

What attracted you to Costa Vida and made you want to open your own locations?

The thing that attracted me to Costa Vida is not only is it amazing food, but the people who operate the company are amazing as well. I feel that I’m not just a franchisee who is a number on a spreadsheet somewhere. I feel like I’m actually part of a family. That’s something that’s very, very important to me.

I feel like I can talk to anybody within the corporation. They ask me about my wife and how she’s doing, and ask me about my baby and how he’s doing. When my baby was born, my wife and I got a huge bouquet of flowers from the company. I thought that was just amazing. It was the greatest thing, that they were willing to take the time to recognize that.

What do you like about the food at Costa Vida?

I like how everything is prepared the long way. Everything is made from scratch and really fresh, with high-quality ingredients. With every item that we serve, every component of our food is very good on its own. When you start adding it together and you combine them, it becomes an amazing thing to eat.

What is it that sets Costa Vida apart from the competition and really makes it a brand worth investing in?

One of the main things that separates Costa Vida from our competitors is the fact that we offer products that many of them don’t. The sweet pork, I think, is one of the best things we serve at Costa Vida, and it’s not something you can get at a lot of our other competitors.

Also, it’s not just about the food. It’s about the people working at Costa Vida. When you go into a Costa Vida, it seems that everybody is really happy to be there. They enjoy their jobs. Instead of just being pushed through a line like cattle, you feel like the people want you to be there. The employees want the guests to be there. They’re excited to see them.

A stack of freshly cooked Costa Vida tortillas.
Richardson says that Costa Vida has already made him feel like part of their family as he’s opened his first restaurant.

What did you do before becoming a franchise partner?

I worked for a cousin who owns a large number of Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises. I started out as a cook and worked my way up to management as an area supervisor. Restaurant ownership has basically been a dream of mine since as long as I can remember, and I wanted to be a franchisee. When the opportunity finally presented itself and we heard about Costa Vida, we were sold immediately as soon as we tried the product and met the people behind it.

Have you had the chance to work with other franchisees in the system?

I’ve worked with several of the franchisees. Everybody is very open and very excited to help everyone else out. I’ve gotten a lot of advice. What you don’t want is somebody that says, “Well, I’m not going to help so-and-so because they are another franchisee and I don’t want them to be as successful as me.” Everybody in Costa Vida wants everybody else in Costa Vida to be successful.

What excites you about helping to bring Costa Vida to a new market?

The thing that excites me the most about bringing Costa Vida to our local market is the fact that I’m in love with the food. I’m so excited to bring that to my friends and family and the people in my community. I’m really excited that it is something new that people in that area have not tried. Our competitors don’t offer a lot of the same products that we do, so it will be really nice and refreshing for the people up there to try something new.

You’re an Area Developer, planning to open at least five restaurants. What is it that you think makes Costa Vida a sustainable investment for the long term?

The reason I want to be involved in Costa Vida is that they’re an ever-changing business. They’re constantly growing. They’re making changes to fit the needs of our guests. They embrace technology and different things that we’re going to start seeing in the future.

It’s been very difficult to find locations in the market that we’re going into. The market I’m in is a growing market and a lot of people want in it. There’s not a lot of available real estate. Costa Vida has been there to help us the entire time. They have done everything they possibly can to help us build our presence in this new market and once we get our name more established here, it will be a lot easier to get our third, fourth and fifth locations.

As I look at the long term, there’s nothing really more important to me than passing on my legacy to my children. I think that’s really important. I think Costa Vida is a great legacy to pass to my son. He’s only five months old right now, but eventually we’re going to make sure he’s working in the restaurant. He’s going to learn the business and hopefully he will take over for me one day.

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