Wahoo’s to expand aggressively

Wahoo’s Fish Taco announced on Monday that it plans to add more than 100 restaurants across the United States over the next five years, and it’s enlisting a former Kawasaki executive to oversee its growth initiative.

The Santa Ana, Calif., company has appointed Tom Orbe as VP of its franchise program. Orbe, who owns the Temecula, Calif., store, is the former VP of sales, product development and marketing for Kawasaki Motors Corp. and a former VP at Nissan Motor Corp.

Orbe will head Wahoo’s growth initiative. The fast-casual chain currently operates 50-plus locations in California, Colorado, Texas and Hawaii.

“With his passion for the brand and innate understanding of what we do, Tom is everything we want in a franchisee and the ideal person to lead us toward our growth initiative,” said Mingo Lee, Wahoo’s co-founder and CEO. “He understands how everything works — the unique Wahoo’s business recipe — and that makes him essential to our team.”

Wahoo’s plans to sign 15 franchise units in California this fall and four franchise units in Arizona this winter. Demand is so high right now that Wahoo’s is holding a lottery to determine the franchises.

Wahoo’s was founded by brothers Wing Lam, Ed Lee and Mingo Lee in 1988.

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