Freebirds World Burrito franchisee to begin search for Wichita sites

WICHITA — A franchisee is looking to bring as many as three Freebirds World Burritos to Wichita.

Overland Park-based FB Midwest Development is the first franchisee of the chain, which is based in Texas and California. The franchise group has the rights to develop Freebirds locations in Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska.

“We’re signed up initially for 27, and hopefully we can get more territories,” says Bryce Katz, COO and partner.

He says the restaurant is similar to Chipotle Mexican Grill, with a big focus on organic items such as grass-fed beef and hormone-free chicken.

Freebirds has what Katz calls “very, very fresh” burritos, burrito bowls, nachos, quesadillas, salad and seven kinds of salsa.

The group’s first restaurant opened recently in Mission, which makes the 77th Freebirds site nationally.

Katz says his group hopes to open in Wichita in 2013.

“We’re going to start looking now.”

Even once the group identifies sites for Wichita restaurants, Katz says, “We’ve got three more around Kansas City that we’ve got to knock out first.”

The Mission restaurant is in 2,500 square feet, but Katz says 2,800 square feet “is about our sweet spot.”

He says the group prefers end caps, though it doesn’t have drive-throughs.

Freebirds debuted in 1987. When current owner Tavistock Restaurants USA bought the company in 2006, that’s when rapid expansion began.

Katz says that’s what his group plans as well.

“The sky’s the limit.”