Industry News | April 19, 2013

New Taco John’s CEO Sets Sights on Growth

Mexican quick service restaurant chain Taco John’s International has selected Jeff Linville to be its new chief executive officer. 

An industry veteran with 28 years of restaurant experience, most recently as senior vice president for the Arby’s Restaurant Group, Linville is aiming to position Taco John’s for nationwide recognition and growth.
 
“This is definitely a brand that can grow throughout the United States. With an emphasis on the freshness of the food along with how it is prepared and delivered, Taco John’s is very unique, a best kept secret really. I think this brand just needs to get the word out,” says Jeff Linville, new CEO of Taco John’s International. “As I learned more about Taco John’s, it started to hit me, why don’t we have 1,000 restaurants? Two thousand?  Three thousand? There is a huge growth opportunity with Taco John’s.”
 
With an eye on long term profit enhancement, Linville says his first priority is establishing a strategic plan for Taco John’s that addresses three top areas.
 
“Number one is unit growth. Number two is continuing our comp sales growth. And number three is continuing to enhance our margins for profit growth and profit share for our franchisee community,” says Linville. “Most restaurants want to take the easy route – start cutting food, cutting labor – but that’s not the way to long term profit enhancement. There are a lot of ways to get there while increasing the value of your business. It’s harder but it certainly is more sustainable long term.”
 
Linville lists Taco John’s culture as another ingredient in its recipe for future growth.
 
“When I started talking with Taco John’s, the first thing I did was go to YouTube and start looking up the restaurant. It was the only brand I could really find where employees of different restaurants around the country had made videos about how much they love working at Taco John’s. And they put them on YouTube! Nobody else does that,” says Linville. “Typically it’s employees ranting about how terrible something is or how terrible a guest experience was. I just found that amazing. Honestly, I’ve never seen it before. It is a strength we need to take advantage of.”
 
To learn more about the Taco John’s culture and how the restaurants operate, the new CEO plans to work behind the counter as a front-line employee. Starting April 16, Linville will spend time going through training, preparing food, and serving customers in company-owned restaurants.