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Javier Correa of Sombrero Mexican Food on Restaurant Expansion Strategy Interview with Sombrero Mexican Food Owner Javier Correa Jr. on celebrity endorsements, finding an effective pace, and the balance of scaling a business.

By Shawn P. Walchef

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Takeaways from this episode:

The Secret is there's No Secret — The world knows Blink 182 as one of the most popular pop punk bands of all time. Before the stardom, they were just three local high school kids that loved bean and cheese burritos from Sombrero Mexican Food in their hometown of San Diego. Loved them so much, in fact, they named dropped Javier Correa's family restaurant in their song, Josie, released in 1997.

Create a Cadence — Javier Correa has been in the restaurant business his entire life. Becoming an owner, however, has shown him that there are elements that can be planned and prepared for that has been a game changer for him and Sombrero Mexican Food.

Expansion with the Four Walls — Sombrero is a household name in San Diego with numerous iterations. For Javier Correa, expansion of Sombrero Mexican Food looks different from the normally accepted vision of the term.


Javier Correa Jr. has spent his entire life in the restaurant industry. In fact his Sombrero Mexican Food is a family heirloom of sorts.

The San Diego quick service Mexican food restaurant chain was started by his grandfather as a single-unit dine-in spot in the 1960s. After initially closing its doors, Correa's father grabbed the torch to reopen Sombrero in 1984 and things have been rolling ever since.

As a staple in San Diego, Sombrero made its mark with a simple marketing technique: good food. Their consistently quality menu items, specifically the classic bean and cheese burrito, was the inspiration for a line in one of San Diego's most famous residents' songs as the band Blink182 made mention of Sombrero in their 1997 anthem Josie: "She brings me Mexican food from Sombrero's just because."

"You know, it's this worldwide thing. But what does it come down to? Just the good food," Correa states on the Restaurant Influencers podcast hosted by Shawn Walchef of CaliBBQ Media.

The 16-store chain has locations that range from 24-hour spots to locations within gas stations. With such a large scope of business, realistic balance, ironically, has become the predominant strategy for Javier Correa Jr. as he continues to guide Sombrero's future.

"What we've been realizing is there's so much opportunity within our four walls." the restaurant owner says of Sombrero's expansion plans. "So we will scale, don't get me wrong, but we've had so many improvements these past few years and I see what we're doing within our four walls."

Javier Correa knows Sombrero Mexican Food and entrepreneurship on an intimate level as a third generation owner. The San Diego staple has had worldwide acclaim while remaining true to its self described "San Diego style Mexican" roots.


NOMINATE A RESTAURANT INFLUENCER — Do you know someone who is killing it on social media? Let us know by emailing influencers@calibbq.media or sending the @calibbqmedia team a DM on social media.


Restaurant Influencers is brought to you by Toast, the powerful restaurant point of sale and management system that helps restaurants improve operations, increase sales and create a better guest experience.

Toast — Powering Successful Restaurants. Learn more about Toast.

Shawn P. Walchef

Founder of Cali BBQ Media

“Be the show, not the commercial.”

Cali BBQ Media Founder Shawn Walchef helps brands and leaders leverage the new Business Creator Economy with strategic Smartphone Storytelling and Digital Hospitality.

His Cali BBQ restaurant company has generated more than $35 million since opening in 2008. They operate numerous locations in San Diego and beyond.

Shawn’s weekly video series Restaurant Influencers (published by Entrepreneur Media and produced by Cali BBQ Media) has been seen by over 25 million people.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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