Chipotle, Moe’s… 3 Pepper Burrito Co. The latter of the three brands represents a potentially disruptive force in the national burrito scene, with ground zero being in Southwest Florida.
Local restaurateurs Tim Goff and Justin O’Brien saw an opportunity in the local Central and South American food scene to launch a new brand with the premise of offering made-to-order items with fresh ingredients.
Literally every aspect of a 3 Pepper burrito is made fresh; it all starts with a ball.
A small, glorious ball, that gradually transforms into a safe haven for the masterpiece that is a 3 Pepper burrito.
The ball is the dough, made fresh every morning, that is pressed into your own personal tortilla following every order.
“It took us almost a month to get the recipe right,” says Goff. He believes it’s easy to taste the difference between a processed tortilla versus 3 Pepper’s fresh-made burrito ingredient holder.
Goff and O’Brien, both 32, grew up together. They graduated from Cape Coral High School and almost immediately began working together, opening the wildly popular Pita Pit in Estero’s Gulf Coast Town Center back in 2007 after embarking on careers in real estate.
Originally, they viewed their foray into the restaurant world as a great source of secondary income.
After the Great Recession hit in 2007, it became a blessing in disguise.
“We decided to open Pita Pit thinking we could open a store and it’ll run itself. We learned quickly that’s not really the case,” Goff said with a laugh.
After learning the hard way the sheer amount of hours it takes to run a restaurant, Goff and O’Brien set off to perfect their craft, eventually opening a number of Pita Pit stores across Florida.
Being franchise owners taught Goff and O’Brien all they needed to know to create their own, culminating with their first 3 Pepper Burrito Co. in 2014.
“We wanted to do something fast-casual and extremely fresh. We saw an opportunity at a local level.”
They opened their first store in Cape Coral and a second off Daniels Parkway. A third 3 Pepper Burrito Co. is expected to open in the first quarter of 2017 in downtown Fort Myers, according to Goff, with a fourth slated to open after that.
Goff and O’Brien view the downtown Fort Myers location as a great proving ground for future expansion. The location will house their corporate HQ, complete with a test kitchen for future offerings and an opportunity to further perfect their process for potential franchise owners in the future.
They have already received a boatload of inquiries.
“We’ve had well over 100 inquiries asking about franchise opportunities, but we’re not going to do that until we have the staff in place to support our franchisees. We’re not going to put someone in place and try to play catch-up; we want to be ahead of the curve.”
To learn more about 3 Pepper Burrito Co., click here.
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