Sombrero Mexican Food’s Javier Correa on restaurant expansion strategy


Takeaways from this episode:

The secret is that there is no secret — The world knows Blink 182 as one of the most popular pop punk bands of all time. Before fame, they were just three local high schoolers who loved bean and cheese burritos from Sombrero Mexican Food in their hometown of San Diego. They loved them so much, in fact, they named Javier Correa’s family restaurant abandoned in their song, Josie, released in 1997.

Create a cadence — Javier Correa has been in the restaurant business all his life. Becoming an owner, however, showed him that there are things that can be planned and prepared, which was a game-changer for him and Sombrero Mexican Food.

Expansion with the Four Walls – Sombrero is a household name in San Diego with many iterations. For Javier Correa, the expansion of Sombrero Mexican Food seems different from the normally accepted view of the term.


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

San Diego’s chain of quick-service Mexican restaurants was started by his grandfather as a single-unit restaurant in the 1960s. After initially closing, Correa’s father picked up the slack to reopen Sombrero in 1984 and things have continued ever since.

As a staple in San Diego, Sombrero has made its mark with a simple marketing technique: good food. Their consistently high-quality menu items, especially the classic bean and cheese burrito, were the inspiration for a line in one of San Diego residents’ most famous songs as band Blink182 mentioned Sombrero in their 1997 anthem Josie: “She brings me Mexican Sombrero food just because.”

“You know, it’s this global thing. But what does it all boil down to? Just good food,” Correa says on the Restaurant Influencers podcast hosted by CaliBBQ Media’s Shawn Walchef.

The 16-store chain has locations that range from 24-hour locations to gas station locations. With such a vast scope of activity, a realistic balance has, ironically, become Javier Correa Jr.’s overriding strategy as he continues to guide Sombrero’s future.

“What we have realized is that there are so many opportunities within our four walls.” the restaurant owner says of Sombrero’s expansion plans. “So we’re going to evolve, don’t get me wrong, but we’ve had so many improvements over the last few years and I see what we’re doing within our own four walls.”

Javier Correa knows Sombrero Mexican Food and entrepreneurship on an intimate level as a third generation owner. The San Diego staple has won worldwide acclaim while staying true to its “San Diego-style Mexican” roots.


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