Salsarita’s and Cholula Collaboration Is Just One More Step in Making the Chain “Hot Stuff” in the Restaurant Industry


Left to right: David Appolloni, Cholula’s Foodservice and National Account Manager in the East, Phil Friedman CEO of Salsarita’s Fresh Mexican Grill; Ken Janso, Cholula’s Senior Director of Sales

Charlotte, NC  (  Charlotte-based Salsarita’s Fresh Mexican Grill held its annual convention recently in Savannah, Georgia.  On the final evening of the educational three-day event, awards were handed out to a variety of high performers among the many franchisees who operate more than 70 franchise locations of the thriving chain. There are an additional 12 company owned locations bringing the current number of restaurants to 82.

Also, during the event, Salsarita’s CEO Phil Friedman handed out several Vendor Excellence Awards. According to Friedman, these awards are presented to vendors based on a consistent extraordinary commitment from said vendor and their contributions to building the Salsarita’s brand. A typical strategy of the man who has headed three restaurant chains and built them into successes with his well- known innovative working relationships.

“We look for vendors who are really willing to commit to us and the brand, not just sell us products or services. Our vendors essentially partner with us in growing the chain,” said Friedman.

How did Cholula obtain this status? Salsarita’s President and COO Ken Green worked closely with David Appolloni, Cholula’s Foodservice and National Account Manager in the East along with Ken Janso, Cholula’s Senior Director of Sales to go through an 18-month process that involved three steps.

1) Chef lead ideation sessions where the product was used to create many exciting and innovative dishes 2) A period of testing one of the dishes in company restaurants 3) Result: a highly successful roll out of “Cholula Corn Salsa”, a key addition to Salsarita’s multiple salsa options. The LTO is going on now with the new Crunchy Burrito Bowl with Cholula Corn Salsa..

“We are currently working with Cholula’s chefs to develop proprietary marinades for our chicken, steak, and pork products using different blends of Cholula,” added Green. “We look forward to adding more amazing items to our menu through this collaboration.”

Crunchy Burrito Bowl featuring Cholula Corn Salsa.

About Salsarita’s

Founded in Charlotte, N.C. in 2000, Salsarita’s Fresh Mexican Grill offers Mexican favorites such as six flavorful house-made salsas, custom burritos, tacos, nachos and salads made fresh to order with an extensive selection of proteins, toppings and fillings. Salsarita’s was acquired by franchise industry veteran Phil Friedman in 2011 and operates more than 82 locations in 17 states. For more information, visit, like us on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @salsaritas.

Rhonda Sanderson
Sanderson & Associates