QDOBA is the name of the restaurant chain, which was adopted at the beginning of the 2000s by the Mexican fast-food brand, established in 1995 as Zuma, and renamed Z-Teca Mexican Grill two years later. Today it is one of the most popular dining destinations across Canada and the USA.

Meaning and history

QDOBA Logo history

In 1995, Robert Hauser and his friend, Anthony Miller, opened their first restaurant of Mexican cuisine, Zuma Fresh Mexican Grill, in Denver, Colorado. The restaurant was named after the cat of one of the founders’ friends. But the name didn’t last long, as the company was sued by another establishment that also had the word “Zuma” in its name. The first rebranding of the company was already in 1997, with a completely updated name, Z-Teca Mexican Grill.

The rebranding did not harm the business in any way: in the first year of operation under the new name, the restaurant was a resounding success. The desire to get to the new establishment made people wait in lines of 30 people or more. (To Z-Teca Mexican Grill’s credit, it should be noted that the waiting time did not exceed 7 minutes).

The financial result was very impressive. Having invested 180 thousand USD in opening the restaurant, the partners earned 1,5 million USD in just one year.

In 1997, Z-Teca Mexican Grill began selling franchises, aggressively expanding its chain in Colorado. A year later, several investors, including Western Capital, made a large financial infusion into the company, resulting in new successful restaurants. By mid-1998, Z-Teca Mexican Grill owned 21 locations in 9 states.

In 2000, the company had to go through rebranding again. Because Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill of Arizona and Azteca of Washington State filed lawsuits insisting that the restaurant names were similar. The advertising agency Heckler Associates proposed a new name, QDOBA.

QDOBA Mexican Grill restaurants spread throughout the American states over the next decade. In 2012, the first establishments opened in Canada – in three cities at once: Brandon and Winnipeg, Manitoba, and London, Ontario. In 2013, Qdoba Mexican Grill operated more than 600 quick-service restaurants across the United States, and in 2016 there were already 650.

In 2015, the establishment changed its name for the third and final time (to date). “QDOBA Mexican Eats” is the name under which all restaurants operated by the company and franchisee partners operate.

Today QDOBA Mexican Eats offers authentic burritos, tacos, quesadillas, chile con queso, and Mexican gumbo. They serve good grilled, fried shrimp and vegetable pecan pie. There’s a pretty good American brownie, fried pineapple, and dessert cookies. And, of course, there is something to order here for tequila lovers. The main peculiarity of the restaurant is that you are the one to completely form your order: first, you choose a dish, and then its ingredients. Everything is prepared in front of you.

What is QDOBA?
QDOBA is the name of a fast-food restaurant chain specializing in Mexican cuisine and having hundreds of locations in the United States and Canada. Today QDOBA has more than 700 restaurants in North America. According to one of the versions, the name QDOBA stands for “Queso, Delicious On Basically Anything”.

In terms of visual identity, QDOBA has gone through even more changes, than with its name. Starting with the original Zuma logo, and the one badge, created for Z-Teca, the third name of the chain got two different badges, resulting in today’s bright and modern QDOBA logo.

1997 – 2000

QDOBA Logo 1997

The logo for Z-Teca Mexican Grill, designed after the first rebranding of the company, was a stylized dark-green logo in the Aztec style, with bold white lettering above a circular badge in a geometric frame with triangular spikes. The central part of the composition was taken by a red and yellow figure of a human, drawn in a particular Mexican manner.

2000 – 2008

QDOBA Logo 2000

The redesign of 2000 has introduced the first version of the logo for QDOBA Mexican Grill. It was a cool contemporary banner with a stylized black inscription in a slanted designer typeface, accompanied by a clean lightweight tagline and a bright green and red emblem depicting an abstract cactus plant, which perfectly reflects the cuisine, offered in the restaurants of the chain.

2008 – 2015

QDOBA Logo 2008

In 2008 the logo of QDOBA Mexican Grill was changed again. This time it was a more laconic logo, based just on the lettering with no graphical additions. Both lines of the badge were written in one, dark terracotta color, but two different fonts. The upper level was set in a smooth designer typeface, while the bottom one used a clean geometric sans-serif font with distinctive contours of slightly narrowed capitals.

2015 – Today


The name change to QDOBA Mexican Eats was followed by the new logo redesign in 2015. The concept is still based on the inscription, but the color palette was changed to an orange and black one, and the styles of both levels of the wordmark were significantly modernized. Now the characters feature clean geometric shapes and evoke a sense of progressiveness and confidence.

Font and color

QDOBA Emblem

The bold and bright lettering from the primary QDOBA logo is set in a sleek and futuristic sans-serif typeface, which looks pretty close to such fonts as Integral CF Heavy, Peckham Press Bold, or Sequel 100 Black 95, with some visible modifications. As for the tagline, it uses a more traditional style of typeface, looking similar to Sweet Sans Heavy Small Caps.

As for the color palette of the QDOBA Mexican Eats visual identity, it is based on a bright and warm combination of orange and black, which looks modern, welcoming, and at the same time strong and distinctive, showing the company’s focus on quality.

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