Flying Pig and Mi Tierra Expand While Rents Come Down

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Photo: RicardoDiaz11 via Flickr

By now we know that many wheeled chefs take to the road to avoid the considerable overhead of owning real restaurants. But for Flying Pig’s Joe Kim, low rents in Downtown are allowing the chef to start two locations of a brick and mortar restaurant. L.A. Times explores the neighborhood's dramatically slashed rents and the effect it has for expanding retail and hospitality businesses like Kim’s. He reportedly found his first Flying Pig property at 4th and Main at 50% less than recent highs and another one close by for 30% off, making it hard to resist pushing the food truck he started only last fall into more ambitious waters that were previously unaffordable. And it looks like Kim is not the only one.

Tierra Mia Coffee Co. has also taken advantage of low rents to open a second store with nine employees in a former McDonalds in Huntington Park, just two years after launching its flagship. Low rents are just the tip of the iceberg too for expanding empires. Tierra founder Ulysses Romero cites the “huge inventory out there to take advantage of” as a boon to construction, reporting that his new outpost took only two months to finish, compared to the year it took at his first store, and that costs were about one-third of what he expected to turn the Golden Arches into Tierra Mia. It is no doubt these very points that have Romero already plotting a third branch of his coffeehouse.

As forecasts for the trucking trend are looking slightly dismal recently, we expect to see a few more food truck chefs leaping aboard their own restaurants if rents stay low. Flying Pig Truck will be the first opportunity to see if the fans come with them.

Growing firms benefit as hard times soften rents [L.A. Times]