Commercial Real Estate, Capital, Insurance, Leasing & Management

Back from the dead: 2 restaurant chains reemerge in metro Orlando

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Terrence Hart says fast-casual restaurant chains can still grow despite stiff competition in Central Florida.

Excerpted from Orlando Business Journal story.

Perhaps one of the spookiest experiences in retail real estate is chains disappearing from Central Florida.

Two of those restaurants — the Tex-Mex eatery Lime Fresh and the Italian chain Fazoli’s — have shown signs of re-opening locations in the Orlando area.

Lime Fresh shuttered here after Rubio’s Restaurants Inc.’s $6.3 million acquisition of eight Lime Fresh Mexican Grills from Ruby Tuesday Inc. in 2016. However, a $900,000 building permit was filed Oct. 25 for a new Lime Fresh location in Lake Nona at 13052 Narcoossee Road.

It’s unknown when Lime Fresh will open the 2,800-square-foot eatery as the company wasn’t available for comment. A general contractor wasn’t listed on the permit. The chain currently has about a dozen locations in South Florida.

Still, Lime Fresh will need to separate itself from other fast-casual chains in Central Florida, said Terrence Hart, senior director at Franklin Street of Orlando, who handles retail leasing and is not involved with Lime Fresh. That’s because there’s stiff competition in the market from San Diego-based Qdoba Mexican Eats, Atlanta-based Moe’s Southwest Grill and Newport Beach, California-based Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE: CMG).

“If they have traction and get enough business going, of course they can expand,” Hart said.

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