Beach Burrito channels a vibe with Extra Guac.

In Feature by Peter Gearin0 Comments

A chain of Australian Mexican restaurants has turned to print to deliver customers a taste of its cool-dude message.

B each Burrito is a chain of restaurants with California-style Mexican food. Since 2006, each restaurant it has opened – and there are now 14 of them in five Australian states – has a personality of its own. One has its own pool, or is it a skatebowl?

The point is that Beach Burrito has never wanted to be like any food chain you can easily name. It has always wanted to reflect its unique identity – one that celebrates good times, art, music, colourful drinks with umbrellas, skating, surfing, snowboarding, chunky burritos and hanging with friends.

This ethos is illustrated in a magazine that was recently created by Beach Burrito and distributed through each of its outlets. It’s called Extra Guac. (It has a full stop at the end of its name, indicating it’s short for “guacamole”.) Of course, anyone who eats, drinks and parties at Beach Burrito knows that, and knowing that makes you part of the audience Beach Burrito is striving to attract.

Extra Guac. tells the story of Beach Burrito’s beginnings – how Blake Read created his corn-chip empire. Bemoaning a lack of decent Mexican food in Sydney, “coupled with a healthy thirst for frozen margaritas”, Read opened his restaurants “with an ethos built on quality, culture and community”. He says that after moving to Colorado at 20, he worked in restaurants so he could work at night and snowboard or surf by day. Pretty soon he ended up in California.

“The Mexican guys who ran the kitchens taught me what true Mexican food was and on trips home to Sydney, I saw a hole in the market,” he writes in Extra Guac. “I spent three years researching the concept and putting together a business plan for the Bondi store, and it took me about four weeks to lose every cent I had. A sharp learning curve followed!”

So did success. Beach Burrito opened its most recent outlet in Dee Why, on Sydney’s northern beaches.

Issue 1 of Extra Guac. was produced by editor in chief Joel McDonald and former brand manager Jimmy Baxter. It’s a user’s guide to Beach Burrito’s soul, with lots of pictures of young people surfing, skating and having fun, profiles on chef Adam Cook and cool shop owner Sancho Murphy, a recipe for guacamole and a rundown on hot chillis. There are ads for market-conscious Corona and Vans, as well as some house promotions. It’s all right on message.

McDonald says the idea of creating a magazine had been kicking around for some time. “Extra Guac.’s main purpose is to educate people about Beach Burrito and what we are all about,” he says. “Letting people know that we’re still a family-owned, based and run restaurant chain that hasn’t franchised is something we hold quite proudly.

“With Extra Guac., customers can get an insight into the ethos behind not only the restaurants, but the brand we have created that stems way beyond great, fresh Mexican food.”

Although it’s not clear if Extra Guac. will be produced regularly or eventually feature localised content, the team knew what would be covered in issue 1. “We always had the plan to share with our customers everything about our awesome staff, cool fitouts and, of course, our involvement in the surf, skate and art scenes right across Australia,” McDonald says.

“We’ve had a great reaction from the magazine, with people sending in feedback via email and even just feedback from our managers. I love walking through the stores and seeing people getting really into it. I once saw this lady writing down the guacamole recipe that we have included in issue 1. I had the joy of letting her know it was a free magazine and she could take it home.”

Tres cool, dude.

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