September 1, 2021
Franchisee Q&A: Scott and Heather Keen
• Fajita Pete’s – Kansas City franchisees
• Former Director at Sprint
What made you and your wife want to franchise?
I made a personal decision—after talking with my wife—that this is the time to try and own something and control my own destiny versus just having another corporate job. I enjoyed corporate work but I’ve always wanted to experience something more.
How did you become a Fajita Pete’s franchisee?
We looked at all of the franchises they say to look at: auto repair, dry clean, car washes—things that I thought would be successful from an operations standpoint.
Someone told us to give Pete a call, and Heather and I didn’t waste any time. We called the number on the website and talked to the team. Within a few weeks we were down there meeting with Pete and Joey.
What was your visit like?
We loved the food and the folks were welcoming. Pete is a humble leader and all of the team is smart and experienced. It was a very convincing visit.
I never had any anxiety over my decision because, quite frankly, Pete and Joey made it sound so simple. Then I spent a few days in their stores. I realized, here I am in my third day and I’ve already made 80% of the recipes. It’s very simple.
What was it like working with a restaurant concept for the first time?
It was simple to operate. They’ve done a good job of setting franchisees up for success in terms of preparing a very simple operation with very simple recipes and very simple procedures. I like the small footprint of the store.
I wasn’t even looking for a restaurant. It still feels strange to say I’m in the restaurant business.
You opened your store in a new market. What was the reaction?
I knew it was good when I tasted it, but I never expected the reactions I would get. I have literally had people weeping in my store and calling their friends because they were so excited that we were open in their neighborhood.
The streamlined Fajita Pete’s business model
Heather: This is the perfect concept for consumer flexibility—delivery, curbside and catering… works with today’s busy lifestyles but provides you restaurant quality food!
Scott: Our store is 1300 square feet. Our dining room is 240 square feet. We have room for one table for four and counter space for 9, with 2 tables outside.
We’re definitely different than other fast casual restaurants. People are surprised when they walk in for the first time because all they did was Google us and see the 5 star reviews on the food. They don’t know what to expect but they know the food is going to be good.
What’s your favorite menu item?
I eat everything in the restaurant, but chicken and beef are the star of the show—no question about it.
Pete and Joey have done a really good job of picking simple recipes. I give a lot of credit to Pete and Joey—every single product that they put out is a winner.
The menu is, in my mind, pretty near perfect.
I appreciate the simplicity of the menu.
What has the experience been working with the corporate team?
I would give them 5 stars. These guys are great. First of all, they really do have everyone’s best interests at heart. Pete’s a smart, humble leader with a lot of great experience, and he shares it openly.
For me, they’ve given me a lot of rope as a franchisee, and I appreciate that. I don’t like being put into a box. I know I bought into a franchise, but I have a lot of good ideas too and I want to share them and help develop the operations.
I’ve gotten a ton of support from the team. Every time I call they pick up the phone and answer my questions—no matter how many times I ask them. I’ve gotten a lot of great resources. Everyone—from the owners to the board to the support staff—genuinely want us to succeed.
What’s your goal with Fajita Pete’s?
We’ll see how it goes with the economy. I do believe this is the right brand and the right franchise for Heather and I to operate from here on out for the rest of our careers.
With the economy, Pete and Joey and the team have helped us navigate times of rising food costs and labor shortages. The economy is an X factor, but we want to be the Fajita Kings of Kansas City!
What are your thoughts on dealing with competition?
We welcome competition. Our food is just so good. If someone tried to replicate our food, we would beat them on service.
What would you tell someone considering a Fajita Pete’s franchise?
It depends on the person. This was a really good fit for Heather and I because of our retail experience.
It’s just a good team. I can’t wait to watch this brand grow over the next 2, 5, 10 years.
There are a lot of good people and good teams invested in Fajita Pete’s. Everybody’s gung-ho, it’s a great product and it’s a great model. It’s a winning combination.