“Our guests have more dining options than ever before, so listening to their feedback is crucial in earning their loyalty,” Locke said. “We want them to know that we’re listening and striving to create an amazing dining experience for them every time they visit our restaurants.”
Further, Taco Cabana plans to launch a MyTC! Loyalty program in the fall. This will provide exclusive offers, news and rewards, and build a member base Taco Cabana can speak directly to.
“If you grew up loving Taco Cabana, but haven’t visited us in a while, we hope you come see what we’ve been up to. And if you’ve never tried us at all, we ask that you give us a shot. We’ve done a lot to make our recipes and overall brand experience better than ever,” Locke added.
The brand added seven Texas stores this year in San Antonio, Katy, Hurst, Terrell, and Baytown.
Taco Cabana’s overhaul comes at an interesting time for Fiesta. In Q1, Pollo Tropical reported same-store gains of 1.1 percent compared to a 6.7 percent decrease in the first quarter that ended April 2. Taco Cabana’s comps dipped 1.7 percent versus the prior-year 4.5 percent drop. The results were a welcomed change. If you rewind back a year to Q1 2017, Fiesta shuttered 30 stores and saw its transactions dip 8.9 percent and 4 percent, respectively at Pollo Tropical and Taco Cabana,. Total revenues fell 0.6 percent o $175.6 million.
Management then began touting a “strategic renewal plan,” that kept its eye on long-term growth. Among those changes were the widespread experience and food flips, as well as a renewed focus in core markets.
This past quarter’s positive comps marked Pollo Tropical’s first quarter of comparable same-store sales growth since the fourth quarter of 2015. The chain’s core markets of Miami-Dade and Broward counties in Florida posted comp increases of 3 percent.
Taco Cabana has improved its sales every quarter since August 2017. With the help of founding chef Connie Gutierrez, the brand has looked at reestablishing quality in its recipes as the key driver.
“Similar to Pollo, guests are noticing the enhancements we have put in place at TC. And our guest metrics and social media scores are improving. As we continue to build our sales, our margins will also improve,” Fiesta president and CEO Richard Stockinger said in May.