What is Costa Vida?

Our beach-inspired Mexican restaurant franchise has proven itself as a successful restaurant chain and as a supportive franchisor

Costa Vida Fresh Mexican Grill is a proven, rapidly growing fast-casual Mexican restaurant franchise that is expanding throughout the U.S. With nearly 100 units open, we have proven our concept as a successful restaurant brand and as a franchise opportunity.

Our franchise owners serve fresh, made-from-scratch Mexican food that tastes amazing, and the restaurants have a Mexican coast-inspired atmosphere designed to create a relaxed and welcoming customer experience.

Our success formula

  • Innovative menu featuring flavorful, Mexican-inspired cuisine developed by our executive chef.
  • Relaxed customer experience inspired by the beaches of Mexico.
  • Efficient walk-through service model which allows guests to personalize entrées without sacrificing speed of service.
  • Strong unit-level economics, allowing franchisees to scale quickly.
  • Flexible real-estate footprint, allowing for free-standing and shopping center locations while maintaining profitability.
  • Low investment relative to other fast-casual restaurants.
  • Executives with deep experience in food service and multi-unit operations.
  • Franchisee-focused corporate culture.
  • Proven concept as both a scalable restaurant model and as a franchise organization.
  • Key banking relationships allowing successful franchisees to ramp up quickly and dominate their market.

The inspiration behind Costa Vida

The idea behind Costa Vida was born from a trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. When our founders came back from a visit there, they wanted to bring not just the flavors, but the culture of that coastal lifestyle back with them, so they opened up the first Costa Vida restaurant in 2003.

Ask a smart, successful multi-unit franchisee when to invest in a restaurant franchise, and they’ll tell you to wait until it has 50-100 units. This demonstrates proof of concept as a restaurant brand, showing the systems are battle-tested, the company can penetrate new markets and they are already leading a group of successful franchise owners.

With almost 100 restaurants open and operating in many regions of the U.S., we’ve proven our worth but still have many prime development opportunities in many territories, making Costa Vida the right concept at the right time for the right franchisees.

Tight operations that create better returns

We serve amazing food to guests, but for any restaurant, great food should be a given. What makes us stand out is how our preparation and cooking processes make everything better, not just in taste, but in operational efficiency, waste reduction and cost savings. That all makes our Mexican restaurant franchise a strong and sustainable investment.

Take a virtual restaurant tour to learn more about our standardized operations and processes.

A plate of Costa Vida nachos covered in pico de gallo, queso and guacamole.
The same processes that make our food better also make us a better business thanks to operational efficiencies, waste reduction and cost savings.

Restaurant franchise executives who understand your business

Chairman of the Board Sean Collins and President and CEO Dave Rutter were the first franchisees of Costa Vida. The results they achieved, the growth they built and the upward potential they saw inspired them to buy the young company. They stay connected to that experience and the experience of our franchisees through involvement in our corporate-owned locations, which we run just like the franchised locations. We directly understand how every decision we make impacts and benefits our franchise partners.

We don’t just rely on our own experiences, of course; the voices and direct feedback of our franchise owners are crucial to our decision-making. Our franchisee association, the Costa Vida Advisory Council, regularly communicates with leadership to voice concerns and challenges, and we have a strong track record of listening and responding to those concerns and implementing the great ideas we receive.

Learn more and start a conversation

If you’re ready to learn more about the Costa Vida Mexican restaurant franchise, visit our other research pages. To start a conversation, fill out the form on this page and we will reach out to you by phone to further discuss the opportunity.

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