Quick-service executives have the capacity to do a lot of good outside just filling customer bellies with tasty food. Many choose to rally their loyal consumers behind a cause, creating fundraising opportunities and spreading awareness. Others go the extra mile to rally their own corporate team and restaurant employees to engage in volunteer work that can pay off for the whole company.
Taco Cabana brings back its popular Taco Treat fundraiser this October to benefit the Warrior and Family Support Center (WFSC) at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. All Taco Cabana locations in Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico will sell $1 coupon books good for five free bean and cheese tacos, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to WFSC.
Pollo Tropical, Florida’s fast-casual concept, continues its Texas expansion with the opening of its first San Antonio location. It will share its grand opening celebration and adjacent pad site at 6819 N. Loop 1604 W. with the newest location of its sister restaurant, San Antonio’s Taco Cabana, which will debut its new prototype restaurant design.
Like a tropical storm, many different elements came together in 2013 to create a standout year for Fiesta Restaurant Group, parent company to fast-casual brands Pollo Tropical and Taco Cabana. After years of climbing sales and store counts, tinkering with the store design and menu, and strategic growth and marketing initiatives, both brands landed on the Contenders list for the first time, Pollo Tropical at No. 62, Taco Cabana at No. 64.
But while the two brands share a parent company, they don’t share many other resources or even markets. Not yet, anyway.
For guests who believe variety is the spice of life, Taco Cabana launches its Salsa Especial! program featuring a rotation of new, fresh, handmade, limited-time-only salsas to its salsa bar. The bar currently offers six different salsas that are made in-house with hand-chopped vegetables daily.
The NBA Finals repeat between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs have given two Fiesta Restaurant Group COOs a reason to renew a sibling-restaurant rivalry of their own.
San Antonio-based Taco Cabana COO Todd Coerver and Miami-based Pollo Tropical COO Danny Meisenheimer are wagering that their respective hometown will win the finals. The losing city's COO will have to go to the winner's city and work a busy three-hour lunch shift in a "superfan" uniform designed by the winning city's home office.
During any given year, a restaurant company that records a 50 percent increase in its stock price could expect to crow pretty loudly about the accomplishment. But even that type of gain wasn’t good enough to crack the top 10 among publicly held limited-service restaurant operators in 2013, as equities market soared.
“It’s been a very good year for the market and for many restaurant companies,” says R.J. Hottovy, a dining industry analyst at Chicago’s investment firm Morningstar. “There were some pockets of weakness, but most restaurant [stock] values have had good gains.”
Thirty-five years ago, Taco Cabana opened its first restaurant in Midtown San Antonio. Soon, that original location will be the center of attention as Taco Cabana celebrates 35 years as the “Original Mexican Patio Café” and the grand re-opening of its newly remodeled first location.
To commemorate the milestone, Taco Cabana will offer fans its signature bean and cheese taco at a special throwback price.
Thirty-five years after Taco Cabana introduced its signature patio experience to San Antonio, Texas, the “Original Mexican Patio Café,” located in the historic Monte Vista neighborhood, is beginning a month-long restoration project.
The project will restore the 35-year-old restaurant to the original look and feel of its opening in 1978. The restoration culminates on the brand’s 35th anniversary on September 21 with a special grand reopening fiesta event that will include the family of Taco Cabana’s founder, Felix Stehling.
Sometimes, parting ways can be advantageous.
In May 2012, Fiesta Restaurant Group, owner of fast-casual brands Pollo Tropical and Taco Cabana, split from Carrols Restaurant Group, the nation’s largest Burger King franchisee. Fortunately, there were no hard feelings.
“Originally, the idea was that the three companies would be worth more separate than they were together,” says Fiesta Restaurant Group CEO Tim Taft. “Since then, that thesis has been proven correct in light of the stock performance of both companies.”