Wahoo’s Fish Taco: 100 Units In 5 Years


Marking a major strategy change in its 20-year history, Wahoo’s Fish Taco has halted plans to build company-operated restaurants.

Instead, it will focus on franchising.

The Santa Ana-based chain, founded in 1988, has hired Tom Orbe to lead a major franchising effort.

Orbe, who owns a Wahoo’s in Temecula, said Wahoo’s wants to build 100 new new franchise units over the next five years.

“This marks a huge shift, because we’re not looking to build more company stores. We’re looking to franchise,” Orbe said during a recent phone interview.

When an iconic chain such as Wahoo’s starts to franchise, red flags go up. It often means the original owners are not involved in future growth, and therefore, the quality of the restaurant might go down.

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