Empire Building

Calbi Trucks To Be Franchised by Baja Fresh

Calbi Truck
Calbi Truck Photo: Hadley Tomicki

A mutual desire to increase profits from Korean tacos has brought Baja Fresh and Calbi Fusion Tacos together at last in a franchising deal. Fresh Enterprises, the operator of Baja Fresh and La Salsa franchising, has acquired the Calbi franchise after its debut last weekend at L.A. Franchise Expo. It was just this summer that Baja Fresh was attempting to jump on the Kogi bandwagon, introducing a “Kogi taco” and burrito that had Korean twists. Meanwhile, Calbi Fusion Tacos was getting used to the labels that dubbed it a Kogi imitator, to which Calbi founder John Lee tells Nation’s Restaurant News ,”Think of it like Pepsi to Coke… people can taste the difference.”

The joint venture will make Calbi trucks available to entrepreneurs for an initial franchising fee of $50,000, with a five percent royalty fee, while Fresh Enterprises’ franchising director estimates start-up costs at $250,000 to $275,000 per truck. Could this mean a Pinkberry-like proliferation of Calbi trucks is headed down our freeways?

While a fleet of Calbis has potential to rake in cash, Baja Fresh might have missed the mark again on the food truck trend. The scores of successful Twittering food trucks profit most from exclusivity and perceived word-of-mouth or digital buzz, not corporate sponsorship. Interesting recipes and concepts tend to get heaviest attention prior to roll-out, while Calbi’s take on Korean tacos have always been saddled with copycat-calls and seem to be nothing new to anyone reading ubiquitous talk of Kogi.

Kogi currently has no plans to franchise, while Calbi is the first food truck to do so and others have expressed interest. Nonetheless, we think there will remain only one name in Korean tacos when the dust settles, numbers be damned.

Baja Fresh Owner to Franchise Calbi Truck [Nation’s Restaurant News]

Calbi Trucks To Be Franchised by Baja Fresh