Taco John’s, one of the largest Mexican quick-service restaurant chains in the U.S., has signed deals to open 25 stores and is poised for rapid growth. The new stores will be developed in current markets, as well as new markets in Indiana, Virginia, and New York.
“This is a new day at Taco John’s,” says CEO Jeff Linville. “We have a lucrative incentive program and a large amount of target areas available. Our success in 2014 marks the start of an expansion into new areas for Taco John’s.
The deals, signed in 2014, include seven new franchisees who will open at least 11 stores and 10 existing franchisees who will open at least 14 new stores. The expansions come amid a revitalization of the 46-year-old brand, which has about 400 locations throughout the United States. It has a cult-like fan base and a stronghold in the Midwest and Upper Mountain states. In 2013, the company brought in a new management team to help the brand improve operations and expand.
“There is a huge growth opportunity with Taco John's. We have a new prototype design, new marketing campaigns, and a commitment to operational excellence,” says Van Ingram, vice president of franchise development. “Our current franchisees recognize the momentum and are stepping forward to develop new restaurants and new franchisees see the opportunity that Taco John’s provides.”
The new expansion deals are just one sign of the brand’s new momentum. Same-store sales grew quickly in 2014—up 4.7 percent, which is more than twice the 2.3 percent rate of growth in the quick-service industry overall.
“Our numbers and the growing popularity of Mexican food point to a huge opportunity for franchisees, particularly multi-unit franchisees, who are looking to expand into a new category,” Ingram says. “Millennials and Gen X want food that is authentic, that uses real ingredients and that has bold, spicy flavors. Taco John’s already has a strong following, and there is only one nationwide competitor in Mexican [quick service]. We’ve competed head-to-head against that brand, successfully, for more than four decades. We are poised for dramatic growth. Taco John’s will become the fastest growing Mexican quick serve brand in America.”