More than 440 Killeen-area restaurants are listed in the yellow pages and more are opening every week.
But can the new restaurants survive among all the competition?
The owners of Menos Mexican Grill on East Stan Schlueter Loop seem to think so. They plan to open a second location at the corner of Fort Hood and Jasper streets within the next 60 days.
“Business is good, so we are expanding,” said owner Victor Meza. The Meza family owns more than 20 restaurants throughout the Killeen area, and in Belton and Waco.
“We try to serve good food at reasonable prices and provide good customer service,” Meza said. “We rely heavily on Fort Hood. Not just business from the soldiers, but a lot of the civilians eat at our restaurants.”
SureFire Tacos and Tortillas Grill on the corner of Fort Hood Street and U.S. Highway 190 will give Meza additional competition when it opens sometime within the next 90 days. Sam’s Southern Eatery and Seafood on Rancier Avenue also will open soon.
The restaurant business is considered by some to be one of the most difficult enterprises to achieve success. A study conducted by Cornell University of restaurants in three local markets over a 10-year period showed 27 percent of restaurants failed within the same year and 50 percent failed within three years.
The study also reported 60 percent closed after five years and 70 percent closed at the end of 10 years.
Despite the statistics, restaurants continue to open in the Killeen area. Harker Heights has had several new restaurants open in its city limits in the past few months. Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce President Bill Kozlik said all of the restaurants in the city have done well.
“Freddy’s is the newest restaurant to open here, and the manager is very pleased with the amount of traffic the restaurant has seen, especially with the kids from the high school being able to go on their lunch hour,” he said.
“Whether the restaurant is in Killeen, Harker Heights or Cove, you always have to wait in line to be seated. You don’t just walk in the door and get seated right away.”