Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group recently led a $27.5 million investment round to support growth for Tacombi, a quick-service Mexican chain looking to expand by nearly 5x in the next five years.
The funding was connected to Enlightened Hospitality Investments, the growth equity fund affiliated with Union Square. Other investors include Mexican private-equity firms Capital Mazapil and Rodina, and Gary Hirshberg, co-founder and CEO of dairy company Stonyfield Farm.
“Since meeting Danny Meyer a few years ago, I’ve appreciated his thought partnership as we’ve continued to build our omni-channel business and taken steps to prepare Tacombi to scale into a global brand,” Dario Wolos, founder and CEO of Tacombi, said in a statement. “With the EHI [Enlightened Hospitality Investments] team’s expertise in international brand expansion and the support of all of our investors, we’re excited to share Mexican food and culture through our taquerias, products, and technology as we enter this next phase of growth.”
With the capital injection, the brand hopes to reach 75 stores across multiple formats and grow Vista Hermosa, its line of consumer packaged goods available in more than 800 locations, including Whole Foods.
Tacombi has returned to sales growth against 2019, boosted by its “rapidly expanding” takeout and delivery business and “outsized growth” on its website and mobile app, the company said. The $27.5 million investment will be used in part to power its omni-channel presence and develop and integrate “technology that will enable more efficiencies and enhance consumer and employee experiences.”
The restaurant started as a taco stand on a Mexican beach in 2006, and opened its first U.S. taqueria in New York City’s Nolita neighborhood in 2010. It has since expanded to 13 locations in New York, Miami, and Washington D.C. The company prides itself on authentic taco recipes and traditional Mexican bites and drinks, such as the Pollo Yucateco and Baja Crispy Fish tacos, La Bisteca and Pollo Superior burritos, and watermelon and pineapple aguas frescas.
The chain also operates The Tacombi Foundation, which has donated nearly 250,000 meals to people in need since COVID began.
“Dario Wolos founded and leads the kind of beloved brand, winning business and enlightened team-first culture that beautifully aligns with our mission at Enlightened Hospitality Investments,” Meyer said in a statement. “And of course we love the authentic food and drink, a loving expression of Dario’s desire to authentically share his love for Mexican hospitality with a broader American audience. Tacombi is building an incredibly dynamic business, solidly positioned for growth both with its bustling taquerias and exceptional line of quality packaged foods.”
In addition to Tacombi, Enlightened Hospitality also has investments in artisanal ice cream concept Salt & Straw, online marketplace Goldbelly, Joe Coffee Company, and farm-to-table brand Dig.
Tacombi was advised by its legal counsel, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, in connection with the funding round.