At first glance, the Taco John’s in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, might look like any other in the Mexican fast-food chain. But visit with the crew behind the counter, and you’ll learn the location has accomplished something no one else can claim. It is the first Taco John’s to become a nationally certified training restaurant.
"Certified Training Restaurants will help Taco John’s prepare future managers and franchisees. The program also recognizes our top operators as the best of the best,” says Shawn Eby, vice president for operations at Taco John’s. “It takes three to six months of work to complete the certification process. It requires the highest levels of operating excellence, guest service and training. Only the elite get in.”
“We’ve always had a sense of pride in our business. So when this opportunity arose, we saw it as a chance to share our passion and excitement for Taco John's,” says Brian Fuder, owner of the Fergus Falls Taco John’s. “This certification will keep us motivated to be the best we can be. It encourages us to stay focused on maintaining operational excellence and, most importantly, taking care of our guests.”
The national designation is valid for one year. Restaurants will then be required to complete a recertification process. Eby believes the time and effort are worth it for franchisees and their guests.
“Certified restaurants receive additional benefits such as the opportunity to test new menu items and equipment. They will be the first to review and offer feedback on new policies and procedures,” Eby says. “Through this program we are helping restaurants reach goals they never thought possible. As a result, their guests will receive better service, cleanliness, and order accuracy.”
Eby expects as many as 20 Taco John’s restaurants may become nationally certified during the program’s first year. To date, four have completed the process. In addition to Fergus Falls, restaurants in Lincoln, Chadron, and North Platte, Nebraska as well as Paducah, Kentucky, are now nationally certified training restaurants.