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Cilantro Taco Grill Hires Managing Director to Support Franchise Growth

Jul 9, 2024

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Cilantro Taco Grill, the nation’s largest authentic Mexican franchise, has hired Leonid Girik as Managing Director to further accelerate their rapid franchise growth. We’ve sat down with Leonid to dive into why he joined the Cilantro team, what his background is, and how he’ll support Cilantro franchisees.

What do you do at Cilantro Taco Grill?

As the Managing Director at Cilantro Taco Grill, I collaborate closely with CEO Temoc Morfin and the executive team to align our operational procedures and partnerships with our mission of rapid enterprise growth and expansion. My role balances the daily needs of individual locations with the company’s long-term roadmap. This dual focus allows us to remain agile and responsive, bridging the gap that often exists between corporate executives and front-line employees. I find this integration vital, as it ensures we stay connected to the customers who drive our success.

What is your background, and how did you come to join CTG?

I have dedicated the past 15 years to the hospitality industry, primarily working with fine-dining restaurant groups and full-service, multi-unit restaurants. My experience with renowned groups like Hogsalt and Gage Hospitality has honed my skills and provided me with a deep understanding of high-end hospitality, which I now bring to the QSR space. I joined Cilantro Taco Grill seven months ago as the Director of Operations for a fine dining project the family is developing. Meeting Temoc and the team, and learning about their inspiring journey and ambitious goals, motivated me to become part of their story. My mission is to infuse Cilantro Taco Grill with a unique and authentic experience that stands out in the competitive Mexican QSR landscape.

What aspects of CTG do you resonate with the most?

As the son of immigrants from the Soviet Union, I deeply resonate with Cilantro Taco Grill’s story and mission of achieving the American Dream. The company’s familial approach and cultural heritage permeate all aspects of our operations, creating a sense of belonging. My culinary passion for Latin cuisine over the past four years makes Cilantro Taco Grill feel like home to me.

What are your dreams/big vision for your role in CTG?

My vision is to ensure Cilantro Taco Grill is prepared for the substantial growth we have on the horizon. I’ve witnessed the pitfalls of companies becoming too “bloated,” and I aim to avoid that by maintaining our authenticity while staying nimble in the evolving QSR space. For me, guest experience and employee development are paramount. A strong employee life cycle and loyal customers are the twin pillars of long-term success.

How do you think CTG compares to other Mexican franchises in the space?

Cilantro Taco Grill stands out for its commitment to authenticity. We serve traditional dishes like cabeza, lengua, and tripa—culinary staples from Guadalajara. As newer generations seek genuine and novel experiences, CTG leads the way. While many competitors offer the same chicken, steak, and pork options, we provide a platform for customers to expand their culinary horizons. Additionally, the joy many of our employees feel when cooking the food they grew up with is unmatched, and it shows in every smile.

 

 

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LEARN MORE ABOUT CILANTRO TACO GRILL

 

 

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