Analysis of Wahaca's new fast casual Mexican brand - Burrito Mama

Cover Page of Report
Cover Page of Report

Mexican Restaurant Juggernaut Wahaca ‘s well publicized takeaway Burrito concept called Burrito Mama introduced their Burritos to the world this past Friday at Uber-trendy Street Feast in the Dalston Yard. Being a Burrito Aficionado by trade, I was invited to come down and taste the goods before things opened up to the public.

There was an appropriate amount of chaos surrounding the Burrito Mama site with the crew putting the final touching on their service line and a handful of PR and marketing folks making sure everyone was comfortable with a cold beer and some well-chosen sound bites:

“The Burrito Mama brand will stand on it’s own and not be directly associated with Wahaca”

“We will be opening our first site in One New Change this October, hopefully to be followed by more” - In what I understand is the old Sumo Salad space. I wonder if they got a change of use permit and will be operating on an A3 lease (with primary cooking on site)?

“We perfected our recipes and processes using the Burrito Truck on the Southbank”

“We are 100% focused on better burritos, faster. Over the years, we have noticed that around 90% of customers order our burritos without making any bespoke tweaks, but we still go through the process of asking them every ingredient to put in, slowing things down. At Burrito Mama, we’re taking all our knowledge of what people love, making it taste extra special and then using that as our recommended choice for customers." Wahaca and Burrito Mama co-founder Thomasina Miers

They intend to operate with the “Order, Pit, Auction” Model. This means a customer will place their order and pay then be given a receipt with a name or a number. They will then wait in the pit or designated open space for their name or number to be called. There will be a Burrito Mama employee who will be expediting the finished orders into the hungry mob, usually by shouting their name/ number or auctioning their food. This is a common Model in the USA with Fast Casual Mexican brand Baja Fresh being the most well known. Examples here in the UK can be found by visiting new Burger Giants Shake Shack and Five Guys in Covent Garden. All of these brands cook their food to order so it will be interesting to see if Burrito Mama pre-make their Burritos or make each order fresh once placed.

As this was the first time Burrito Mama was offering it’s product to the public, we can assume they will be making some more tweaks along the way. It is likely the Burritos we sampled (which were the first two produced) will evolve over the coming weeks. Unfortunately, Burrito Mama does not yet occupy their Restaurant space so it would be challenging to address the quality of their people and Operations. We can only base our analysis off of what we observed and tasted this afternoon at this one off event.

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