When industry veteran Omar Janjua joined Taco Bueno from Krystal in late March, one of his first tasks was to identify underperforming areas of the 170-unit chain’s business, as well as reallocate “resources toward more productive pursuits,” the company said.
And following an in-depth review of Taco Bueno’s entire restaurant portfolio, Janjua and the chain announced Monday afternoon they would make a number of strategic closures in order to position the brand for future growth. On September 10, Taco Bueno permanently shuttered 16 restaurants across Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri. The company said impacted managers and employees were offered the opportunity to transfer to other Taco Bueno locations where available.
“We continually review our restaurant portfolio performance. These closures were a strategic decision based solely on business demands and changing traffic patterns. It is our plan to reinvest in new locations and to remodel others to better serve our guests,” Janjua said in a statement.
These closures include: two locations in Arlington, Texas; three in Fort Worth, and one each in North Richland Hills, Dallas, Balch Springs, Granbury and Harker Heights. In Oklahoma, one location in Oklahoma City, Enid, and Norman were shut down. One restaurant was closed in Kansas and two in Kansas City, Missouri.
“We appreciate the effort of our teams throughout their time with us, and we hope to keep as many hard-working people as possible,” Janjua added. “We are committed to growing this brand for the future, and this portfolio adjustment will allow us to pursue new restaurants in strong trade areas and expand Taco Bueno’s presence to serve more guests—and provide more jobs—in communities eager for value and quality dining experiences.”
Privately held Taco Bueno was founded in 1967 in Abilene, Texas, and spreads across the South and Southwest, including Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. In December 2015, TPG Growth, the middle market and growth equity investment platform of TPG, purchased then-177-unit Taco Bueno for an undisclosed amount.
Janjua left the same post at Krystal to join Taco Bueno and oversee a team of corporate executives and more than 2,700 employees from its headquarters in Irving, Texas. Taco Bueno relocated to the larger base in 2017. Janjua brought more than 35 years of quick-service experience to the position. Before Krystal, he was president and COO for Sonic, where he oversaw operations, training, franchising, developing and quality assurance. Janjua also served as vice president and chief operating officer at Steak ‘n Shake after 18 years with Pizza Hut, where he provided support to 75 franchise groups operating 2,600 restaurants in 27 states.
“Even though these restaurants are closing, guests should be on the lookout for great things to come in the future for Taco Bueno,” Janjua said. “We look forward to introducing new guests to our delicious offerings and continuing to exceed expectations for our loyal fans.”
In other recent executive moves, the brand brought on Tony Darden, former VP of operations for Panera, as COO in May 2017. It also tapped Mary Ellen Mullens as chief people officer this past May. She served as senior director of human resources for Sonic for five years before joining Taco Bueno.
Taco Bueno said earlier in the year it would focus on its core business and providing Tex-Mex for lunch and dinner through a new customer-inspired menu. One example was a Pick 3 for $2.99 Menu, introduced in March, where customers could build a combo meal under the $3 price point.