College Avenue Qdoba Closes
State College now has one fewer place to get a burrito.
The Qdoba Mexican Eats location a 208 W. College Ave. has “closed for good” according to a sign posted in the restaurant’s window.
Independent franchise owner Chip Aikens said that the opening of a corporate-owned Qdoba in 2017 at 1908 N. Atherton St. played a major role in the decline of sales. Since then he said his business had lost $150,000 to $200,000 a year.
He added that the company did not tell him it planned to open a corporate-owned location in the State College market and that he learned about it from the news.
“Had the corporate store not opened here, we would have survived,” Aikens said.
Still, he said, other factors provided challenges in recent years as well. It’s been difficult finding employees, particularly during summer months, and the need to increase wages to attract staff caused his payroll to skyrocket, he said. He also put $150,000 in renovations into the restaurant in the winter of 2017-18 both because of franchisee obligations and because the store had become “tired.”
Aikens said eventually he was putting his own money into the restaurant just to keep it open.
“I’ve lost a lot of money and finally realized there’s no turning this around,” he said.
Opened in the fall of 2004, the downtown Qdoba predated other fast-casual, Mexican-style chains in the State College market like Chipotle and Moe’s. Aikens is the third owner of the franchise, having purchased it in 2013.
The building that houses the downtown Qdoba and Tadashi Japanese restaurant, 206. W. College Ave., is owned by Friedman Real Estate Group. It was formerly the site of The Gap clothing store before it closed in 2004.
The North Atherton Street Qdoba remains open.
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