When Taco John’s International launched Santa Fe Burritos and Bowls this summer, the Mexican quick service restaurant chain was hoping the new customizable entrée would generate five percent of store sales. One month later, customers are ordering the “new way to TJ” at a rate that’s nearly 10 percent higher than expected. “Santa Fe Burritos and Bowls are generating 5.5 percent of store sales. We’re very happy. This menu item is very solid with our guests,” says Bob Karisny, vice president for menu strategy and innovation at Taco John’s International. “Once guests taste it, they realize how good it is and continue to order it.” Sales of Santa Fe Burritos and Bowls have nearly reached 11 percent at some restaurants. Taco John’s guests are able to build their Santa Fe Burrito or Bowl with cilantro-lime rice, seasoned black beans, sour cream, cheese, and their choice of new slow-cooked shredded beef or chile lime chicken. It is then topped with their choice of salsa. According to Karisny, guests are taking advantage of the menu options. “Burritos make up 60 percent of the Santa Fe orders. Chicken has a slight edge over shredded beef while the regular size is much more popular than the large option,” Karisny says. “We’re also hearing customers say how much they appreciate the opportunity to order their Santa Fe Burritos and Bowls from the drive-thru. They love the combination of flavor and convenience.” Taco John’s digital word-of-mouth campaign for Santa Fe Burritos and Bowls has also been very successful during its first month. Customers can earn a free Santa Fe Burrito or Bowl by emailing “$1 off” coupons to three friends. More than 16,000 have participated in the offer. “We’ve asked our top 10 restaurants what they’re doing to sell so many Santa Fe Burritos and Bowls. They tell us they’re following the marketing plan, offering samples, and using suggestive selling,” says Renée Middleton, vice president for marketing at Taco John’s. “We’re a chain of favorites. Launching a new menu item like this, we knew we had to encourage people to try it. Once they taste a Santa Fe Burrito or Bowl, it sells itself.”
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