Since 2008, Paul Altero and Bill Hart have opened 34 Bubbakoo’s Burritos locations.
North Jersey will soon get two more.
The burrito joint, sporting skater and shore themes, will open locations in Sparta and Saddle Brook in February, brokered by Gary Krauss of Pierson Commercial.
The co-founders first opened Bubbakoo’s doors in Point Pleasant at the start of the recession and have since opened both corporate and franchise locations.
“We entered the burrito space at the same time that the quick casual space became the every day,” Hart said. “With the decline in the economy, people started looking more for quick, affordable ways to eat, and we had a different edge and twist to what everyone else was doing.”
The right amount of variety is key at Bubbakoo’s. It offers 10 meat choices and eight sauce choices, including southern-style barbecue, sweet chili, and ghost pepper sauces.
“But we don’t want too much at a time. That causes confusion, and that’s one thing we’re trying to stay away from,” he said. “We’ll roll one flavor out, maybe dial one back, or roll one out and dial two back. If people like it, we keep it on. If it’s a slow mover, we bring it back at another time.”
There are 28 locations currently between development and build-out, which will bring the total up to 72. Four New Jersey leases are currently under negotiations, and on Friday, New York’s inaugural Bubbakoo’s location opened in Staten Island.
Earlier this month, the company launched its Read It to Eat It program. Teachers sign up on Bubbakoo’s website to receive a package of free meal coupons and book checklists. Teachers hand out checklists to students encouraging them to read five books, and when the students complete the task, they turn their checklists into their teachers for the free meal coupon.
From New Jersey to California, 120 schools have signed up for the program, welcoming 30,000 kids into the program.
“I’m a father of three with two boys in grammar school, and I just thought back to when I was a kid and Pizza Hut did the Book It! program,” Hart said. “It’s the right thing to do to get the kids to read more, and we have fun with it.”
Bubbakoo’s Read It to Eat It program is available for all students K-12, and will be ongoing.