Barberitos Puts Community Before Food

The owners of Barberitos A Southwestern Grill & Cantina’s franchise in The Prado shopping center in Sandy Springs said serving the community makes their food better.

Born and raised in Sandy Springs, Philip and Martin Kohnen brought to the city “a place to get healthy, great-tasting food from people who care about the community they serve,” Philip Kohnen said.

Barberitos is a family friendly restaurant with real food, served quickly. The Kohnen brothers, winners of the company’s 2014 Franchisee of the Year for the Sandy Springs store, also own have seven more locations: two in Macon and one each in Buckhead, Buford, Milledgeville and Warner Robins.

“Personally, it is very significant. We work very hard to be the best we can be and to be recognized. There is pride for what we get to wake up and do every day,” said Philip Kohnen.

Atlanta is dominated by the larger burrito brands such as Willy’s and Moe’s, and, it is the Kohnen brothers’ challenge is to make food the best it can be.

“Yes, we believe in good, nutritious food — but making a difference in someone’s life is why we do it,” said Martin Kohnen. “We have a mantra around here: ‘Try to make somebody’s day, every day.’ That is what we want our employees to do. Do something above and beyond every day.”

Phil and Martin were members of Sandy Springs United Methodist Church and went to North Springs Charter High School.

“It is a family friendly restaurant with real food that is really good, owned by a couple of guys who grew up here,” said Martin Kohnen.

At Barberitos they feel a sense of pride for the community, said Philip Kohnen.

“That is why we are involved with local schools and nonprofits. That is why we serve food,” he said.

At Barberitos when they interview a potential employee, they ask them about the community.

“It is what has allowed us to be successful in these areas,” Philip Kohnen said. “One thing we are proud of is that we don’t have a whole lot of turnover. There is a greater purpose in your job than to get a paycheck.”

As fathers he and Martin are especially passionate about local kids.

Through the restaurant, the Kohnens have given back or taken part in the community’s schools, nonprofits and hospitals, including High Point and Heards Ferry elementary schools, Riverwood and North Springs high schools, Girls on the Run Atlanta, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, Northside Hospital and the Northside Youth Organization.

Over the past year they have also made auction donations, gave free-kid-meals incentives, participated in Thanksgiving meals for hundreds, sponsored events and got involved in youth sports practices and events.