Company: High Tech Burrito Corp.
Year Started: 1986
Start-Up Costs: $80,000
1997 Projections: $10 million plus
Before the wrap, there was High Tech Burrito, back when launching a gourmet burrito business meant years of hard work without a vacation. But the hectic pace was no sweat for Greg Maples, then fresh out of the U.S. Marine Corps. "I was used to a grueling regimen," says Maples. Armed with an inheritance, Maples found the inspiration for his business in memories of his high school hangout-popular for its tasty burritos but with one unpleasant catch: "We called them 'gut bombs' because you'd eat them and then feel bad," Maples says.
Determined to create a burrito that would satisfy taste buds and tummy alike, Maples began serving international-style burritos using low-fat ingredients. "It's been neat to see an industry [of wrap burritos] created from a part of my menu," says Maples. Today, his San Rafael, California-based High Tech Burrito boasts 275 employees in 15 locations throughout the Bay Area and a menu-topping Godzilla Burrito that weighs in at 11¦2 pounds.
Rounding out Maples' winning approach? It's all in the details. "I tell my managers, 'Take baby steps and you'll get there,' " he says. With 2 million High Tech burritos consumed last year, it appears Maples has arrived.
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