The fast-casual chain takes over a space formerly leased by the Boston-based burrito company Boloco, which left the storefront this summer after failing to attract enough customers. Boloco had occupied the storefront for almost two decades.
Zambrero has more than 170 locations in Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland. The Harvard Square branch and a branch in Warwick, R.I.—which also opened Tuesday—are the store’s first two U.S. locations.
Zambrero boasts a model of “Plate 4 Plate” meals, in which the company donates one meal to a person in need for every meal bought at its stores.
“We wholeheartedly believe we can end world hunger in our lifetime, and expanding into larger markets, like the United States, increases our chances of making this a reality,” wrote Zambrero founder Sam Prince in a press release for the opening.
Zambrero General Manager Bianca Azzopardi attended the restaurant’s opening and talked with customers in a line down Mt. Auburn St.
Students said they were satisfied by the free burritos and the shop’s convenient location.
“This is the closest place to get food if you live in Adams, Quincy, and Lev,” Harriet Tieh ’19, a former Crimson Business editor, said.
Azzopardi said she thinks students will like Zambrero’s healthy take on Mexican fast-food as well as its humanitarian mission to help address world hunger, which she referred to as the “two pillars of our brand.” She said she hopes the restaurant’s mission will help it attract customers who have a “health consciousness, and also that social consciousness.”
Students attending the restaurant’s opening, though, pointed to other factors that may or may not contribute to Zambrero’s success.
Eva S. DiIanni-Miller ’19 and Tieh said they liked the store’s social mission and atmosphere, but they said students also care about location, hours, and price.
DiIanni-Miller said the restaurant’s location and hours might help it attract customers, especially because it’s open until midnight, but she thinks Zambrero might have trouble competing with the many other options for Mexican food in the Square, including El Jefe’s, Felipe’s, and Chipotle.
“There are so many options in the Square so I don’t know if I’d choose it,” DiIanni-Miller said. “I think this is healthier and more expensive and Jefe’s is cheaper and tastier,” she added.
—Staff writer Henry W. Burnes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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