Following Up on a Restaurant’s Unconventional Strategy


A year ago, we (the NY Times) told you about a dilemma facing Red Iguana, a family-owned Mexican restaurant in Salt Lake City. Its owners, Lucy Cardenas and Bill Coker, were facing a two-pronged problem with their first location. First, a happy problem: their restaurant had gotten so popular after appearing on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” that customers regularly had to wait an hour to be seated. At the same time, the city was about to build a light rail line down the middle of the restaurant’s street, a project that had the potential to force the business to close for several weeks.

To ease the customer wait and protect themselves from downtime, there was little doubt that Red Iguana’s owners needed a second location. But the way they decided to expand was somewhat surprising. Ms. Cardenas and Mr. Coker decided to open a second location with the same name and menu just two blocks from their first, a plan that went against conventional wisdom and was rejected by most of the experts we consulted at the time of our original article.

But the strategy quickly found success.

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