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Just Opened By: Paul Campwell
Hot Head Burritos
6068 Ohio 48
Maineville, OH 45039 | 513-480-0808
Cincy has one more new Hot Head burrito joint. The Kettering Chipotle clone is spreading it’s wings and they have Cincy/NKY focused in their cross hairs. Hot Head Burrito owners Ray & Cynthia Wiley managed to propel their single Dayton location into a 16 unit franchise with 4 more on the way. Ray claims “I think we will be the largest burrito chain in the US and Mexico.” That’s a bold claim for a clone. They plan to achieve it with big advertising. Ray says “without pumping dollars into advertising restaurants can’t survive.” He claims “The product makes you viable,. The marketing and concept make you successful... We advertise till’ it hurts... It’s advertise or die.”
It can be done, Chipotle did it times ten and Hot Head Burrito is a nearly identical clone. Nearly identical... same basic menu, just burritos, tacos and chips at similar prices. But what about the flavor?
My dining companion loves Chipotle (while I quite strongly disagree) so I relied on her reactions to our Hot Head experience. She found Hot Head’s Guacamole not nearly as good, the hot sauce was not as good either but the rest was well mimicked. I didn’t pick up on her observations, but I did notice Hot Head’s Sweet Habanero sauce was better than any sauce at Chipotle. Other than that it seemed the same to me, but more messy.
The service was slower, unorganized and sloppier. They over charged us and when we asked them to correct it the crew discovered their manager had “disappeared”. Vanished, no one knew where, when or why! She may have even quit-walked out or whatever. The folks that were there were working hard to keep up, struggling I’d say, to keep up with the never ending line. Burrito assembly was haphazard,
you had to really pay attention to what ingredients they piled on and how much they charged you. It was obvious they needed more experience.
Perhaps it’s the new crew, the missing manager, or just poor company training but something needs fixing for them to keep up with the customers, let alone keep up with their inspiration and rival burrito king Chipotle. If Hot Head plans to pass up Chipotle, they need a serious huddle and a lot more streamlining of their processes. I don’t see them stealing Chipotle’s crown with just a cloned menu & concept and a unique sauce or two, regardless how many thousands a month they spend in Reach ads. Good luck guys, more power to ya, but you have a tough act to follow.