Acai Express investing $2M+ to double its Puerto Rico footprint
Acai Express announced plans to significantly expand its locations in Puerto Rico during 2021, to more than double the number of units operated under the brand at the beginning of last year. The company started 2020 with a total of 20 locations.
The local franchise has already opened 31 locations in Puerto Rico with the projected addition of another 18 during the remainder of 2021. This represents an estimated investment of $2.16 million and the creation of some 180 new jobs. Each Acai Express food trailer or restaurant requires an average investment of $120,000.
“Our value proposition is based on offering easy access to healthy, fresh and tasteful food. The growth we have achieved in these past months shows that even in the midst of the pandemic consumers continue to validate our concept,” said Héctor Westerband, president and founder of the company.
“There is an important and growing consumer segment that seeks food options that support a healthier lifestyle,” he added.
The next openings of the chain are scheduled for the municipalities of San Germán, Quebradillas, Guaynabo, Bayamón, Ponce and Mayagüez, with new locations planned for San Juan, Dorado and Rio Grande. The most recent openings include the chain’s new locations in the municipality of Añasco, El Escorial in Carolina and a sit-down restaurant in Old San Juan.
The restaurant chain’s sales have also experienced an upward trend, registering an increase in sales of more than 50% in 2020 compared to 2019, a trend that has continued in the first half of 2021.
Acai Express management has placed particular emphasis on continuously revamping its menu, brand projection, and evolving the chain’s concept, which now includes restaurants in addition to its original food trailers. This evolution has allowed the company to adopt new strategies such as an alliance with Subway in Puerto Rico and launch new concepts such as the Acai Express Creamery.
The new Creamery’s concept offers diners a new way to consume Acai, incorporating the use of a cold stone to mix fresh fruit and other ingredients with premium ice cream manufactured in-house. Of the new locations opening this year, at least 10 will include the Creamery concept, according to Westerband.
Acai Express Marketing Director Ricardo Mercadé noted that recent additions to the Acai Express menu include the new Coconut Bowls with vegan coconut sorbet and a soon to be introduced mango sorbet.
“We continue to innovate, adding new products to the menu in a methodical way to always provide variety to consumers on each visit and a healthy taste experience. Likewise, we continue to refine the brand image to strengthen our emotional connection with them,” said Mercadé.