There are some key changes coming to local fast-casual Mexican restaurant chain Hot Head Burritos.
Hot Head is gearing up to transform its brand by adding alcoholic beverages — with an emphasis on craft beers and margaritas — and renovating many of its restaurants to give them more of a cantina-like feel, according to the chain’s co-founder and CEO, Ray Wiley. Hot Head started in Kettering in 2007 and now operates 70 restaurants in eight states.
The Hot Head Burritos at 2254 S. Smithville Road in Kettering — the first Hot Head to open, in 2007 — is in the midst of a renovation, which is being performed at night so the restaurant can remain open and operating. And Hot Head’s founders last week applied for licenses to serve beer, wine and spirits at the restaurant.
”Hot Head, like any brand, is evolving,” said Wiley, who is also a co-founder of the Kettering-based Rapid Fired Pizza chain and has operated Subway franchise restaurants in the Dayton area. “We’re looking at modifying the concept a little bit, by bringing in margaritas and craft beer.”
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The transformation is in its early stages, “and we’re not trying to become a bar,” Wiley said. But many of the restaurants in metropolitan areas and near college campuses will be renovated to a more cantina-style decor, and alcoholic beverages will be added to the menu where possible.
“Industry-wide, we’re seeing more people who are looking to have a beer with their dinner,” Wiley said.
The renovations will include new tables and chairs, as well as new lighting and menu boards, the Hot Head co-founder said.
Plans call for having 10 to 12 taps devoted to craft beer in the remodeled restaurants. The fast-growing and Kettering-based Rapid Fired Pizza chain also serves craft beers at most of its restaurants.
Hot Head Burritos offers burritos, bowls, tacos, nachos, quesadillas, and multiple types and flavors of salsa in a build-your-own service concept similar to Chipotle and Subway.