Habanero's, University of California, Riverside

A holiday break refresh is all this concept needed to get things cooking again.

When Dining Services' Mexican concept at the University of California, Riverside, just wasn't delivering how the department wanted it to, Cheryl Garner, executive director of Dining Services, decided to spice things up. Enter Habanero's, which offers students the opportunity to create their own Mexican menu items from a seemingly endless amount of possibilities.

Snapshots, UC-Riverside, Habaneros, Signage
Garner says the missing ingredient from the previous Latin concept  in the location was the opportunity to customize the product.

"There is just such a trend toward customization," Garner says. "People want to go in and make it their own. It also allows the menu to be much more expansive. Once you add the customization, you suddenly open up a whole new world of opportunity."

The team saw that service wasn't fast enough and sales had leveled off. So during holiday break the department went in and gave the location a makeover.

"We made it much more vivid and warm and made it a build-your-own location where you follow your product along, similar to Chipotle. You decide what type of rice, beans, protein, salsas that you want so you can truly make each of the orders your own."

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