Tijuana Flats History
The Free Wheelin’
How’d Tijuana Flats become Tijuana Flats? Funny story, really. Back in ‘95, this college kid, Brian Wheeler, walked into a bar. Actually, a bunch of bars. (And restaurants, too.) At first, it was just harmless fun. But over time, the good times got the best of him and just going out no longer cut it. So Brian decided to open his own restaurant despite having never worked in one before (brilliant, right?). Only problem was, Brian was broke. Luckily, his parents weren’t. And after much begging and pleading, his dad loaned him $20,000 & Brian opened the first Tijuana Flats in Winter Park, Florida.
A Dude with
a Heart-Burning Desire
While most college grads (yes, Brian graduated from UCF, or so he says) would be stoked just to own their own restaurant, deep down Brian had a burning desire to do more. Turns out, the burning was just hot sauce he’d eaten, but Brian saw it as a sign and created his own line of hot sauces shortly thereafter—the “Smack My Ass & Call Me Sally” brand, which includes some of the hottest sauces in the world.
We Think The Kid’s
(Or Maybe He’s Just On Something)
In ‘99, Brian’s success caught the eye of former restaurant industry hotshot Camp Fitch, who left retirement to become partner & chairman of Tijuana Flats. And Camp wasn’t the only one. Remember the dad who reluctantly loaned his son $20K? Yup, Chester Wheeler left a 30-year career at a Fortune 500 company to become CFO of Tijuana Flats. Since then, Tijuana Flats has grown to more than 100 restaurants in six very lucky states.
The People You Attract When You
Spend Days Rolling Fat Ones
From the outside, it looked like Tijuana Flats didn’t have a care in the world, but inside, Brian and his Camp care deeply about the people in their company, restaurants and communities. That’s why they attract the best of the best team members who personally engage with guests from the time they walk in to the time they leave. It may be “fast casual,” but everyone at Flats takes the time to give a damn. They go above and beyond to make guests feel comfortable and cared for, even if it means taking an order to a car in the pouring rain because mom has the kids in the car.
Upstanding Citizens No Matter
How Many Rounds We’ve Had
Since day one, Tijuana Flats has always given back to the community. But in January 2007, it created the Just in Queso Foundation to give back even more. Much more. The company has raised over $3,500,000, and donated countless hours, to help those in need.
So to all the college kids or parents of college kids out there, remember, success isn’t something you can gain overnight. It’s something you can gain over many nights at college bars.
The Tijuana Flats Manifesto
The Tijuana Flats Manifesto is our Declaration of Independence. Our Dead Sea Scrolls. It’s everything we believe in expressed in a single stream of madcap consciousness. You’ll find it displayed in every Tijuana Flats location.
Our Core Values
All kidding aside (and we kid around a lot), we’re a people company deep down, which is why we take our Core Values seriously. They begin with Respect, which is at the center of everything we do.