My wife Ashton and I heard the statistic that 18,000 children were dying every day from starvation and malnutrition, and that just totally wrecked our world. About two years later, after a lot of research, this idea popped into my head. TOMS Shoes was very popular at that time. I was like, if somebody could do that with a shoe company, why couldn’t somebody do that with food?
We opened a small pizza restaurant about nine months after that initial thought hit us, and we donated a pizza for every pizza we sold. It was a simple one-for-one model, and we got to donate about 250 meals a day. After two-and-a-half years doing that, we started wrestling with how we could expand this mission to a different style of food. Tacos were great; we donate a meal for every taco we sell, and if you’re like me, you’re probably going to get two tacos, so we get to donate two meals as opposed to one off of a pizza. And that’s what led to Tacos 4 Life.
At the end of the day, we are a for-profit business. What that means for us, very tactically speaking, is we have to be that much more competitive on how we handle our food and labor and our middle of the P&L. We have to work that much harder, because we have a percent that’s coming right off the top to go toward this mission.
There was about a six-month period there from March to September where things were pretty bleak. We were able to look at our team and our board and say we still donated close to half a million meals and got to feed a ton of kids. It wasn’t ever a thought to stop donating during COVID. It is the “why.” It’s why every person in this office is here. It’s why every person in our restaurants comes in every day and works so hard. So it became that rallying cry for us.
Our team has worked so hard and really changed and adapted so quickly. And I think when you get knocked back in the corner and you look around and you’re like, “I love being with each of these people. We can win this battle,” you kind of feel like you can conquer the world.
Construction for my dad in the fifth grade.
The Fried Chicken Taco, Korean BBQ Taco, and a side of refried beans.
Jesus. He cut straight to the point: Love others.
Assume the best in others.
Anything water-related, at the lake or the beach.