Freebirds World Burrito
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|Founded 📆||Santa Barbara, CA, (1987)|
|Founders 👔||Mark Orfalea|
|Headquarters 🏙️||, |
Number of locations
Area served 🗺️
|Texas, Oklahoma, California, Utah, and Tennessee|
Number of employees
Freebirds World Burrito, Freebirds for short, is a regional chain of fast casual burrito restaurants founded in 1987 in Santa Barbara, California, USA by Mark Orfalea. The restaurant chain expanded into Texas in 1990 under Orfalea's leadership. In 1994 Mark's college friend and manager of the Texas location, Pierre Dube, purchased control of the restaurant and gradually expanded the chain to span 19 restaurants in Texas. Orfalea retained ownership of the original California location and a license to continue using the name in California. The Texas Freebirds World Burrito chain, which was headquartered in College Station, was purchased by private-equity Tavistock Group in 2007. The chain, headquartered in the Tavistock Restaurants offices in Emeryville, California, has grown to over 60 locations in Texas, 1 location in Utah and others scattered throughout states of Oklahoma, California, and Tennessee. Freebirds formerly operated in Kansas and Missouri from 2012 until 2017.
On July 25, 2007 Dube sold the chain to California-based Tavistock Group through its Tavistock Restaurants division. At the time of the sale, Tavistock stated that it would be opening an additional 40 Freebirds restaurants across the southwestern United States. In addition to adding more Texas locations, Tavistock expanded the restaurant chain into neighboring state Oklahoma with the opening of a location in Norman, Oklahoma in January 2008. In March 2015 the headquarters was relocated from Emeryville, California to Austin, Texas. The company will call its offices at the Great Hills Corporate Center in Northwest Austin its new headquarters.
Mark Orfalea remains the sole owner, creator and founder of the original Freebirds World Burrito located in Isla Vista, California, near the campus of UCSB.
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- Taylor, Kate (November 16, 2015). "A customizable burrito chain that was founded before Chipotle is now expanding across America". Business Insider. Retrieved November 17, 2015.
- "Tavistock Restaurants swoops in on Freebirds". Austin Business Journal. July 23, 2007. Retrieved May 23, 2010.
- "Burrito joint (completely) wraps up its KC operations". Kansas City Business Journal. September 26, 2017. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
- "Freebirds World Burrito Chain Sold". Santa Barbara Independent. July 25, 2007. Retrieved January 6, 2008.
- Parker, Julianna (January 20, 2008). "New restaurant gives Norman the bird". The Norman Transcript. Retrieved January 7, 2009.[permanent dead link]
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