Taco John's Is Expanding Across the Country—Here's Why You Should Be Excited
Move over Taco Bell and Chipotle: Taco John's is expanding across the country and might be opening up in your city in the upcoming year. Founded in 1969 as a tiny taco shop in Cheyenne, Wyoming, there are now 370 Taco John's restaurants in 23 states across the country. Now based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the company recently announced plans of opening up 80 new eateries—22 alone in 2023. These aggressive expansion plans include entering states like Michigan, Ohio, and Massachusetts for the very first time.
If you haven't already experienced the amazingness of Taco John's, here is everything you need to know about the company and 6 reasons why you should be excited about its growth.
1. Taco John's Is Mostly Based in the Midwest
Taco John's is a "West-Mex" that is quickly spreading across the country with the highest concentration of stores in Minnesota.
Currently, most of its quick-service restaurants are in the midwest, in the following states: Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
2. It Rebranded in 2019
In 2019, Taco John's underwent a massive rebranding effort, embracing a new tagline, "bigger, bolder, better." It incorporated a new logo with bolder and brighter colors, adopted modern packaging, and redesigned its restaurants with larger dining room windows, tile floors, and acoustical ceilings.
It also added digital exterior menu boards and ordering kiosks in the dining room. As a result of these efforts, the chain experienced a double-digit increase in sales.
3. Taco John's Signed a New Franchise Agreement and Will Expand Across the Country
The taco chain recently signed the largest franchise agreement in its history: a 50-unit deal with Meritage Hospitality Group, the largest franchisee of Wendy's, in August 2021.
In addition to the new restaurants in Michigan and Ohio, there will be an option to open 150 more.
"Our brand position is a higher-quality quick-service, or a cheaper, faster, fast casual. It has merit all across the country, and I think we're in a very advantageous brand position to enable growth going forward, and all the data in the world supports that," Barry Westrum, chief marketing officer at Taco John's told QSR Magazine.
4. It Recently Launched a Loyalty Program
In 2022, Taco John's launched a points-based loyalty program, offering 10 points per every dollar spent and rewards at 100 points. Members also get to take advantage of exclusive deals.
5. Taco John's Outranks the Competition
Despite the fact that Taco John's market share is smaller than the competition, according to Market Force Information, it ranked higher than other Mexican quick-service restaurants, including El Pollo Loco and Taco Bell, in the majority of categories.
Taco John's composite leading indicator (CLI) score was higher, based on food quality, value received for money spent, atmosphere in the restaurant, speed of service, and friendliness of staff. It also experienced the "least problems" of all the restaurants.
6. It's Adding New Food to the Menu
Expect new menu items at Taco John's in the near future. According to Nation's Restaurant News, the chain is testing out new recipes including a "flat, crunchy tostada topped with shredded, lettuce, pico de gallo, and two types of cheese."
Other items being whipped up in the test kitchen include a pulled pork quesadilla made with carnitas smoked for eight hours, four cheeses, and a chipotle lime sauce; a queso-topped fried chicken taco and a breakfast burrito with rolled up eggs, bacon, cheese and the brand's signature fried potato coin-shaped Potato Oles.