Torchy’s Tacos, the Austin-based craft fast-casual brand, announced that effective immediately it has named original company founder Mike Rypka as CEO.
“This is the company I built, and I love, and I am humbled to return as CEO of Torchy’s Tacos,” says Mike Rypka, founder and CEO. “My dream for Torchy’s began out of a small food truck in downtown Austin, and it has been incredible to reflect on what we have built over the last 15 years. I am proud that we have remained intensely focused on innovation, serving up the best Damn Good Tacos you’ve ever tasted, while continuing to elevate the guest experience through initiatives like handmade tortillas, made-to-order piping hot tacos, optimized kitchen designs, and delivering exceptional hospitality every time you visit.
"Through the years we’ve never lost sight of caring for our people, always providing opportunities for them to grow, while establishing a fun and unique culture that celebrates individuality. While I’ve always been involved behind the scenes, I am excited to serve as CEO as we work to bring Torchy’s to more communities so that everyone can experience our passion for made-from-scratch Damn Good Food," he adds.
As a food and beverage industry veteran who previously led the Torchy’s team through transformative growth between its 2006 founding and 2018, Rypka has been in and around the food business since a young age and is widely regarded as a passionate, creative leader and entrepreneur. After a long career pursuing his passion for food as a corporate chef for leading organizations like the World Bank, MTV Studios, Disney Animation and Dell, among others, Rypka was ready to launch his own independent restaurant.
He took his passion for good food and a knack for damn good flavors and before he knew it—the first Torchy’s Tacos food truck was born on South 1st St. in Austin, Texas. Over 15 years have passed, and Rypka still has not lost his passion for food. Eager as ever, Rypka is often in the kitchen inventing new flavor profiles and is involved in the everyday operations of his beloved endeavor.
Today, Torchy’s serves innovative, unique tacos to guests at more than 100 locations across 11 states.
In November 2020, Torchy's Tacos announced it sold a $400 million stake to a new group of investors, further fueling its aggressive expansion efforts. The brand is leveraging the investment to enter 10 more states in the next few years.