News broke Tuesday that local restaurateur Phil Romano is opening two new eatZi's in the area. A Grapevine (at 1319 Hwy 114) store will open on May 17, and a lease has been signed for a new development in Plano.
Today eatZi's chef executive, Adam Romo, clarified a few more details on the expansion plans.
Since the Plano spot is just a patch of dirt right now, it won't be open until Fall of 2013. And both of these news stores, as reported earlier, will be 10,000 square feet -- the same size as the current eatZi's on Oaklawn (which doesn't seem that large, but only half of the store is seen by customers, the other half is kitchen space). The Lovers Lane store that opened in 2010 is just half that size, 5,000 square feet.
More interesting is Romo's confirmation that this is just the beginning. The company has some rather ambitious growth plans.
"There's so much opportunity here," Romo said. "Once we feel we have a hold on things, we could have as many as 10, 15 maybe even 20 stores in the Dallas, Fort Worth area. Frisco, McKinney, Allen are all potential prospects. Also, we can always build smaller stores, like the one on Lovers Lane. We can look at the economics and determine the volume."
Previous expansion plans didn't pan out so well. In the late 90's they shut down seven other stores.
"We learned a lot from that experience," Romo said. "It was hard to manage with such a small corporate staff."
Put on the spot, Romo said he could envision 10 to 15 new stores in the next five years. Quality remains the primary goal for Romo, he said. "That's the only way we'll do it."