Taco John's

Part
01
of eight
Part
01

Company Overview - Taco John's

Taco John’s was originally founded in 1968 in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The brand concentrated on franchising and delivering quality food in large portions in a friendly and attractive setting to sustain its growth. The company reported approximately $367 million in sales in 2017.

History of Taco John’s

  • Taco John’s was founded by John Turner and his wife in 1968. It was first known as “Taco House” and located in Cheyenne, Wyoming. It became a big hit as the restaurant efficiently offered good-tasting Mexican food.
  • Two Cheyenne businessmen by the names of Harold Holmes and Jim Woodson bought franchise rights to the “Taco House” in 1969. They then changed the name to “Taco John’s,” and started franchising in small towns such as Rapid City, South Dakota; Scottsbluff, Nebraska; and Torrington, Wyoming.
  • The businessmen found that the recipe and seasonings used by Turner were crucial for the company’s success. Because of this, it was tightly guarded and remained a trade secret of the company between the years of the 1980s and 1990s.
  • In 1978, Taco John’s first opened its drive-up window and indoor seating store in Des Moines, Iowa. This store design soon became Taco John’s default model for the next generation of units.
  • In 1989, Taco John’s had about 400 units and annual sales of about $150 million.
  • The company then adopted the company slogan of “A Whole Lot of Mexican,” which was chosen by the company’s president and CEO, Paul Fishkeller, in 1997.
  • In 2003, the company started to adopt new and more contemporary designs and started to expand into major urban areas.

Growth of Taco John’s

The 1980s

  • Taco John’s experienced most of its growth during the 1970s and 1980s. This was when the company concentrated on franchising the brand.
  • During the 1970s and 1980s, many customers started to look for Taco John’s nearer to their location. These customers then became franchisees and started to build Taco John’s in their hometowns. Taco John’s outlets then started to grow in various areas such as the upper Midwest--South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa, Wyoming.
  • The company got most of its revenue from the franchisees. Franchisees had to pay the company a franchise fee, alongside royalties from the sales of its stores. While the company would ship them a prefabricated 12-by-30 foot taco stand from its headquarters in Wyoming.
  • The company also trained employees for different franchises. Taco John’s was then thought to be a good investment, and with this, came a steady supply of franchise candidates.
  • In 1978, the company started to build larger structures with seating and stopped sending out pre-built units. This was started by Bill Bryne and Dean Neese, who invested $39,500 to open a Taco John’s franchise in Des Moine, Iowa. This was the first penetration of the brand into a larger urban area.
  • At the time, Bryne and Neese opened the company’s first drive-up window and indoor seating store, and this eventually replaced the pre-built units and became the default model for the next generation of Taco John’s stores.
  • By the end of the 1980s, Bryne and Neese owned about ten Taco John’s outlets in Des Moines, and these outlets would consume at least ten tons of beef and two tons of cheese each month.
  • Another pair that led the franchise of Taco John’s was the husband-and-wife team of Charles and DeMaris Mathison. The Mathisons bought a Taco John’s franchise in 1976, which was located in Marshalltown, Iowa.
  • They considered the growth of their franchise to be hard. However, as time passed by, the Mathison’s focused on good food and quality service.
  • Eventually, the duo was able to gain a regular clientele from various socioeconomic groups. In 1985, they moved their store in a larger space, which they, later on, added an atrium that would seat 114 customers in 1988.
  • The Marshalltown outlet was the first unit to generate $1 million worth of receipts in a single year.
  • Overall, by the end of the 1980s, Taco John’s had 400 units in the upper Midwest and West. Furthermore, the combined sales of the units were estimated to have reached $150 million.
  • The company was able to sustain its growth in the 1980s, even if Taco Bell, the Mexican-fast food behemoth, was right in their doorstep. Taco John’s realized that they cannot fight Taco Bell when it comes to price, so the company decided to stick with what they excelled in, and that is large portions of high-quality food, and an attractive and friendly setting.

The 1990s

  • The company then introduced its new tagline, “More than you imagined,” in the fall of 1991. Taco John’s then gained its first-ever “Fair Franchising Seal of Approval” in 1994, which boosted the company’s growth.
  • During the same year, the company started to operate 430 units in 30 states. Roelof, a restaurant industry veteran, and CEO of the company at the time, also introduced new items into the menu, including “Heart Smart” items, which used low-fat ingredients. The company also moved to new distribution channels such as “Mexpress” and small food court units.
  • Taco John’s also updated its image by replacing its logo and mascot, Juan, a cartoon-like Mexican figure who sported a giant hat.

The late 1990s to 2000s

  • Paul Fishkeller, the company’s CEO and president in 1997, made new changes to the company. He streamlined the taste of specific items on the menu across the restaurant chain. He did this by using a single supplier for specific ingredients, such as taco meat, cheese, and sauce. He also introduced the company’s new slogan, “A Whole Lot of Mexican.
  • The company also increased its traditional change of units from 1,700 square feet to 1,900 square feet, which included 60 seats and two drive-through lanes.
  • Although the company did not grow in outlets during this change, which fell from 440 in the late 1990s to 400 outlets in early 2004, the company did grow in sales, reaching $200 million in 2003.

The 2000s and Today

  • Taco John’s started to prepare its expansion to urban areas (such as Denver and Kansas City) by unveiling a new and more contemporary store design in 2003. Furthermore, it expanded to about 25 more units in 2004.
  • In 2006, the chain underwent a full-exterior remodeling of its 390 out of 405 restaurants. This is to keep in line with the company’s strategy to always develop and modernize its attractive and friendly setting.
  • By 2013, Technomic reported that the company had reached $330 million in sales.
  • In 2014, the company started its rebranding campaign with a new tagline of “Unwrap the Original.” The strategy of the company at the time was to push the company’s nostalgic offerings of Potato Oles in various advertisement mediums such as TV ads, social media, and digital marketing.
  • In 2017, it opened 116 new commitments, and the brand opened ten new locations, which included a mall unit, other freestanding locations, and convenience stores co-developments. Additionally, the brand opened its first airport location at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Its sales reached $367 million.
  • Recently, in 2019, Taco John’s decided to penetrate the food truck market by releasing its first food truck to celebrate the brand’s 50th anniversary.

Taco John’s Locations

  • Taco John’s is found in many locations. The official website of the company listed Arkansas (two locations), Colorado (16), Idaho (5), Illinois (11), Indiana (3), Iowa (61), Kansas (17), Kentucky (11), Michigan (1), Minnesota (62), Missouri (11), Montana (22), Nebraska (41), Nevada (1), New York (2), North Dakota (23), Ohio (2), South Dakota (36), Tennessee (3), Washington (4), Wisconsin (31), and Wyoming (25) to be all its stores in the US.
  • As stated by the company’s about us page, contact us page, and other sources, the headquarters of the brand is located at 808 W. 20th Street, Cheyenne, Wyoming.
  • The brand did not mention any stores outside the US. Furthermore, various sources did not indicate any other locations outside the US.

Financials

  • Technomic reported that Taco John’s reached $330 million in sales in 2013.
  • Franchise Chatter reported that the company gained a 9.6% growth in same-store sales in April 2015, which is higher when compared to the QSR industry’s 1.9% change. In May of the same year, the company grew by 7.3% compared to the QSR industry’s 1.1%.
  • Restaurant Business Online reported that Taco John’s reached $367 million in sales in 2017, with a 1.2% year-over-year sales change. Furthermore, it has 392 units in the US, with a 0.3% year-over-year unit change.
  • As per their LinkedIn account, the company has 1,001 to 5,000 employees.
  • As per Crunchbase and Zoom Info, the company has $21.7 million in annual revenue.

Part
02
of eight
Part
02

Biography - Alan Wright, Vice President for Marketing of Taco John's

Alan Wright, vice president for marketing at Wyoming-based Taco John's, has decades of marketing leadership experience under his belt. Sources suggest that he is busy with menu innovations, the development and implementation of a new store prototype for Taco John's, and the strengthening of Taco John's brand persona. Details about Wright's personal life are hardly available, and Wright's LinkedIn profile only indicates that Wright graduated from Ball State University, and that Wright follows Forbes Magazine, Nation's Restaurant News, and author Daniel Coyle.

Professional Information

Prior Work Experience

Current Responsibilities

  • Wright has been serving as Taco John's vice president of marketing since June 2018.
  • His current responsibilities appear to focus mostly on the redesign and rebranding of Taco John's stores, as there have been news that a store remodel program is currently being developed. The new store prototype, reportedly, will feature tile floors, bolder colors, bigger dining room windows, acoustical ceilings, kiosk ordering, and digital exterior menu boards.
  • Other current responsibilities appear to include menu innovations and the strengthening of Taco John's "Bigger. Bolder. Better." brand persona. It is Wright's firm belief that "it [is] better to be different not just better."
  • Leadership core competencies include consumer marketing, branding, product innovation, business transformation, go-to-market strategy, digital content and social media marketing, marketing technology platform adoption, cross-functional team leadership, team and external resource development, market, competitive, and financial analysis, media planning and buying, and merchandising and promotions.

Board Membership

  • The boards Wright has served on are the Greater Chattanooga Hospitality Association Board and the Technomics Operational Advisory Board.

Recent News

  • In recent news, Wright and his team were reported to have been working on a new store prototype, which will incorporate contemporary branding, contemporary packaging, and an updated logo, among others. The new prototype is expected to provide guests with an enhanced experience.
  • In July 2019 when this was reported, Wright disclosed that they had been working on the project for a considerable amount of time already, and that the new prototype was scheduled to be unveiled in September.
  • In the past twelve months, Wright, as the company's vice president for marketing, has been speaking on behalf of Taco John's on marketing matters. He has commented on the hiring of Barkley as Taco John's agency of record, the celebration of Taco John's 50th anniversary, Taco John's celebration of Cinco de Mayo, National Taco Day, and National Tortilla Chip Day, Taco John's fall items, and the unveiling of Taco John's new store prototype along S. Greeley Highway.

Personal Information

Education

  • Wright graduated with a bachelor of science degree in marketing from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.
  • He was once the president of the university's Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.

Family Life

  • Details about Wright's family and family life are not publicly available.

Hobbies and Interests

  • The hobbies and interests of Wright are not publicly available, but the Interests and Activity sections of Wright's LinkedIn profile suggest that Wright likes reading Nation's Restaurant News, Forbes Magazine, and Daniel Coyle's books. Daniel Coyle is the author of The Little Book of Talent, The Talent Code, and The Culture Code.

Social Causes or Charities Supported

Social Media Accounts

  • Wright's other social media accounts, apart from LinkedIn, could not be located in the public domain. Either he does not have other social media accounts or he keeps his personal social media accounts private like most executives do.
  • Wright has over 500 connections on LinkedIn. His LinkedIn profile indicates that he is a member of the following LinkedIn groups: Restaurant Network, Marketing Executives Group, Foodservice Marketing Professionals, Marketing & Communication Network, Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Network, Franchise Networking, Restaurant Chain Executives, Marketing Consult, and Hospitality & Foodservice Network.
  • Wright has 2,169 followers on LinkedIn.

Research Strategy

There is hardly any information on the personal life of Alan Wright in the public domain. We employed a number of strategies in our attempt to find personal information. To find Wright's social media accounts, we utilized people search engines such as PeekYou and Social Searcher, conducted an image search and a reverse image search, and searched within social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, all the while taking into account that Wright currently works in Cheyenne, Wyoming. These approaches, unfortunately, did not turn up anything helpful. It is possible that, like most executives, Wright has chosen to keep his personal life private.

To find details about Wright's family, hobbies and interests, and preferred social causes, we checked if Wright has other public profiles apart from his LinkedIn profile, if Wright has publicly shared his resumé, and if there somehow exists a biography of Wright. We looked as well for interviews of Wright, as he may have been asked about his personal life in these interviews. All we found, however, were articles covering Wright's comments on marketing matters at Taco John's, including those published by Restaurant Development + Design Magazine, Adweek, Franchise Update Media, QSR Magazine, Wyoming News Now, and Restaurant News. There was no mention of Wright's personal life in these articles.

As we were already able to scour sources mentioning Alan Wright and Cheyenne, Wyoming, or Taco John's, our last resort for identifying the hobbies, interests, and preferred charities of Wright was to refer to the Interests and Activity sections of Wright's LinkedIn profile, and to check whether the most common hobbies and most popular social causes in Cheyenne are readily available in the public domain. With this final strategy, we were able to gather a few insights about what Wright's habits outside office hours are like. Only our examination of Wright's interests and activities on his LinkedIn profile proved helpful.
Part
03
of eight
Part
03

Media Scan - Taco John's

Among 12 recent news and media articles about Taco John's issues over the past 12 months, there are articles on restaurant openings, restaurant closings, special offers for holidays, special events for the company's 50th anniversary, trademark problems, and issues with passing counterfeit money.

Taco John's opening in Peru again

  • This article was published in the Kokomo Tribune on November 11, 2019.
  • It discusses the re-opening of Taco John's in Peru after closing in 2014. A 20-year-old college student has become a franchisee of Taco John's and is re-opening the restaurant because it was extremely popular.
  • The reason it closed in the first place was not due to sales, but instead because the former franchisee could not maintain the business.

Taco John's being built in East Moline

  • This article was published in the Quad-City Times on November 10, 2019.
  • It announces the opening of a new Taco John's store in East Moline, Illinois. This will be the third Taco John's restaurant in the area.

Taco John’s Opens New Prototype in Cheyenne, Wyoming

  • This article was published in the QSR Magazine on October 28, 2019.
  • It talks about a new type of restaurant debuting in Cheyenne, Wyoming that "features an entirely new look that integrates Taco John’s recently updated logo, contemporary branding, packaging and other advanced features."
  • The new technology in the restaurant includes "digital exterior menu boards and kiosk ordering in the dining room."

At least two counterfeit $100s used in G.I. were made from $10 bills

  • This article was published in the Kearney Hub on October 30, 2019.
  • It explains that a counterfeit $100 bill was passed as legitimate at a Taco John's restaurant in Grand Island, Nebraska.

10 of the best fast-food taco chains across the US

  • This article was published in Business Insider on October 31, 2019.
  • Taco John's was named as the third-best fast-food taco chain in the United States. According to the article, "If you ask people in the Midwest and the Western Mountain states for their favorite fast-food taco picks, you’ll likely hear one name above all others: Taco John’s."

A taco chain trademarked 'Taco Tuesday' 30 years ago: Should they still be able to use it?

  • This article was published in USAToday on August 13, 2019.
  • Taco John's has trademarked the term "Taco Tuesday" and is sending cease and desist orders to restaurants that are using the name for its Tuesday taco events.
  • Experts believe that "Taco Tuesday" may now be a part of the English lexicon and can no longer apply to a single restaurant even though the term has been trademarked in every state except New Jersey.

New-look Taco John's coming to Stevens Point

  • This article was published in the Stevens Point Journal on September 4, 2019.
  • It announces a new Taco John's opening in Stevens Point, Wisconsin that will be finished by the end of 2019 and will be a prototype restaurant with "an outdoor patio, landscaping that includes light and noise reduction and bicycle parking."

Taco John’s Celebrates Cinco de Mayo with Five Days of Value

  • This article was published in the QSR Magazine on April 30, 2019.
  • Taco John's planned to celebrate five days of Cinco de Mayo by "offering a delicious special at an unbeatable price all week long."
  • According to Alan Wright, Taco John’s vice president for marketing, "There’s no better way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo than by indulging in tacos at Taco John’s... For five days, our guests are getting an incredible deal to celebrate the best food in the world, tacos. High quality, delicious food at a price that’s even more appealing, what more could you want?"

Taco John's celebrates 50 years with .69 cent tacos

  • This article was published by KSFY ABC on August 8, 2019.
  • On August 13, 2019, Taco John's would offer $0.69 tacos to celebrate its 50th year anniversary.

Taco John's in Bristol closes, most employees to be transferred to Elizabethton

  • This article was published by WCYB News 5 on July 23, 2019.
  • The Taco John's restaurant in Bristol, Virginia closed two years after opening due to slow sales growth.

Shawano Resident Wins $50,000 From Taco John’s

  • This article was published on RestaurantNews.com on October 11, 2019.
  • A Taco John's guest in Shawano, Wisconsin won $50,000 from Taco John's by entering a receipt code to celebrate the chain's 50th anniversary.
  • Guests had to purchase a medium or large drink from Taco John's between July 1 and September 1, 2019, to be eligible for the prize, but they could also win "free food, gift cards or cool swag" as well.

Taco John's celebrates 50th anniversary with first food truck

  • This article was published on QSRWeb on August 5, 2019.
  • Taco John's debuted its first food truck that includes a "prep-line, hot and cold table, fryer, tortilla warmers, taco tower and two point-of-sale systems" to celebrate the chain's 50th anniversary.
  • The truck is located in Cheyenne, Wyoming, but plans to travel to various other markets.
Part
04
of eight
Part
04

Taco John's - The Competitors

Seven true competitors to Taco John's include Taco Bell, TacoTime, Taco Bueno, Del Taco, Rubio's Coastal Grill, Qdoba Mexican Eats and La Salsa Fresh Mexican Grill. They are restaurant operators, or operators and franchisers that offer at least one specialty similar to Taco John's. Taco John's specializes in Mexican foods such as tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos and salads.

Taco Bell

Why it is a competitor

Value proposition

TacoTime

Why it is a competitor

Value Proposition

Taco Bueno

Why it is a competitor

Value Proposition

  • Taco Bueno offers fresh meals that are prepared from scratch using real ingredients. They also give customers the option to customize their orders, and they have a fresh salsa bar where customers can layer flavors by themselves.

Del Taco

Why it is a competitor

Value Proposition

  • Their dual menu enables them to attract a larger customer base than purely American or purely Mexican spots. Their menu also offers premium items as well as lower priced items, appealing to customers from different socioeconomic backgrounds.
  • Del Taco combines the attributes of fast casual restaurants and quick service restaurants by serving fresh and high quality food in a speedy and convenient way.

Rubio's Coastal Grill

Why it is a competitor

  • Rubio's Coastal Grill is a chain of restaurants around the U.S. that specializes in Mexican foods such as tacos, burritos, nachos, quesadillas and salads.

Value Proposition

 Qdoba Mexican Eats 

Why it is a competitor

Value Proposition

  • Their restaurants have an inviting atmosphere, with sunny patios and full-service bars. They offer complimentary WiFi and an environment where people can hang out.

 La Salsa Fresh Mexican Grill 

Why it is a competitor

Value Proposition

  • La Salsa emphasizes on using fresh ingredients and innovative preparation in their meals. They take traditional recipes from Mexico and give them a fresh and delicious twist. They also offer fresh salsa bars that have different unique salsas, allowing customers to explore different ways in which they can enjoy their meals.

Research Strategy

In order to provide 7 true competitors to Taco John's, we started our research by trying to understand Taco John's business model and value proposition. We checked the company website, specifically the 'History' section, and we were able to find this information. Taco John's is an operator and franchiser of Mexican quick-service restaurants around the U.S. They specialize in Mexican foods such as tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos and salads. They provide high quality food with real ingredients and bold flavors, and are the pioneers of Taco Tuesday.

With this in mind, we identified competitors as other companies that have a similar business model and offer at least one similar specialty to Taco John's. We were able to identify Taco Bell, TacoTime, Taco Bueno, Del Taco, Rubio's Coastal Grill, Qdoba Mexican Eats and La Salsa Fresh Mexican Grill.


Part
05
of eight
Part
05

Taco John's - Competitors: The Findings Part One

Taco John’s, founded in 1969, currently operates nearly 400 restaurants in the United States. The brand's leading competitor, Taco Bell, has more than 7,000 locations in the United States that work to serve approximately 40 million customers per week. Complete details about Taco John's and its competitors are presented below.

Taco John’s

Competitive Advantage

  • Taco John’s has worked to build its brand name into one that consumers know and love since 1969.
  • During the 2018 fiscal year, 73 out of 291 (34.2%) of Taco John’s restaurants either gained or surpassed the average revenue of $1.49 million.
  • Taco John’s offers its franchisees the opportunity for new and multi-unit development across 48 states.

Strengths

  • Taco John’s categorizes its food under its unique trademarked term “West-Mex”, setting itself apart from its competitors.
  • The brands "fresh and innovative" marketing strategies to build brand awareness are reflected in the many “innovative” mascots that Taco John’s has had over the decades. Most recent is Whiplash the Cowboy Monkey, a “popular rodeo attraction and PRCA Entertainer of the Year.”
  • Taco John’s has over 400 restaurants in the United States currently, and offers seasonal menu items throughout the winter holiday season at all of its locations.

Weaknesses

  • Although there are more than 400 Taco John’s restaurants, its locations are confined to the United States giving the brand a weak global presence.
  • A breakfast menu is offered at Taco John’s restaurant but is limited to only a select few locations.
  • Taco John’s received negative publicity in 2006 after 18 customers were hospitalized and even more became sick from eating at one of the restaurant’s locations. Since the incident, there have been no other similar reports.

Revenue

  • Taco John’s generates revenue of approximately $367 million annually.

Geographical Footprint

  • Taco John’s does not have a strong global presence as its restaurants are currently only located in the United States.
  • Nearly 400 Taco John’s restaurants span across 23 states in the United States with 62 restaurants being located in Minnesota, making it the state with the most Taco John’s restaurants, followed by Iowa, having 61 Taco John’s restaurant locations.


Taco Bell

Competitive Advantage

  • Through their partnership with GrubHub, more than 4,000 Taco Bell restaurants located in the United States are expected to have delivery available in 2019.
  • As of 2018, Taco Bell offers cold drinks served in fully recyclable cups at all of its US locations. This represents approximately 95% of the drinks sold at Taco Bell and is part of Taco Bell’s long-term goal to offer more sustainable packaging.
  • Taco Bell offers a trans-fat free menu, giving it a competitive advantage over its competitors by having healthier recipes.
  • Taco Bell was the first QSR to offer services for both dining and drive-thru orders through the use of a mobile application in the United States.

Strengths

  • Taco Bell has strong partnerships with franchisees that have demonstrated itself by driving the brand's same-store sales growth for the past seven years, consecutively.
  • Taco Bell maintains a strong global presence with over 7,000 restaurants located across more than 30 countries.
  • In addition to these strengths, Taco Bell offers quality products and services that have contributed to a strong customer loyalty base.

Weaknesses

  • Reviews left across online platforms show growth in customer dissatisfaction despite consistency in the demand for their products.

Revenue

  • Taco Bell generated $10.7 billion in revenue during the 2018 fiscal year.

Geographical Footprint

  • Taco Bell has over 350 franchise organizations that work to serve approximately 40 million customers across more than 7,000 locations in the United States.
  • The brand is also gaining a strong global presence with an approximate 500 restaurants in nearly 30 countries today.
Part
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Part
06

Taco John's - Competitors: The Findings Part Two

It was found that TacoTime makes an estimated $83.2 million in revenue annually. Taco Bueno makes at a bit more at $187 million in revenue annually. Both companies have an A-plus rating with the Better Business Bureau and offer franchise opportunities to interested entrepreneurs.

TACOTIME

COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES

  • TacoTime is offering fresh home-style Mexican cuisine in a fast-food environment.
  • Their food is inexpensive, and they have a variety of menu items to choose from.
  • This company boasts an A-plus rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
  • They offer gift cards which they are pushing for the holiday season.

STRENGTHS

WEAKNESSES

  • They do not offer online ordering, which is a big detractor in today's online ordering world.
  • Employees say their compensation and benefits are below average for their industry.

REVENUE

LOCATIONS

TACO BUENO

COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES

  • One of its biggest competitive advantages is how fresh their food is in comparison.
  • They put a lot of resources into making sure their franchisees have a strong support system.
  • Their CEO has an approval rating of 70 percent.
  • This company boasts an A-plus rating with the BBB.

STRENGTHS

WEAKNESSES

REVENUE

  • Taco Bueno makes an estimated $187 million in revenue annually.

LOCATIONS

Part
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Part
07

Taco John's - Competitors: The Findings Part Three

Del Taco offers a wide variety of products and fresh ingredients that positions it as a leader in serving fresh, quality food. It has $505.490 million in revenue. Rubio's Coastal Grill offers a menu based on the combination of coastal-inspired flavors and Mexican heritage to prepare award-winning fish tacos. It has an estimated revenue ranging from $173.84 million to $210 million.

Del Taco

  • Competitive advantage:
    • Del Taco's competitive advantage lies in its array of product offerings, including the Del Taco, the Buck & Under Menu, and even more fresh ingredients like hand-sliced avocado.
    • This wide variety of products continue to position Del Taco as a leader in the service of fresh, quality food at highly competitive prices.
  • Strengths:
    • Del Taco's products cover a diverse range of consumers, as it offers both Mexican and American staples across its 24-hour service restaurants.
    • Del Taco can quickly deliver "made-to-order food, using fresh high-quality ingredients in working kitchens."
    • Its broad food menu, restaurant design and atmosphere, and convenient restaurant locations give it a competitive edge in attracting a large addressable market.
    • Del Taco's management team features individuals who have "extensive operating experience, with an average of 20 years of experience each in the restaurant industry." This effectively drives Del Taco's successes and positions it for long-term growth.
  • Perceived Weaknesses:
    • Del Taco appears to have an imbalanced market, as a majority of its restaurants are located in the Pacific Southwest, with 376 restaurants domiciled in California alone. Any negative impact in this region would majorly affect the company.
    • Del Taco relies on only one growth strategy, which focuses solely on opening new restaurants in existing and new markets. Furthermore, this strategy appears to be volatile as it depends on multiple factors that may be beyond the company's control.
    • While Del Taco offers multiple franchises, it doesn't exercise complete control over them or have strong binding contracts/agreements between them. Hence, there are incidents where a franchise would deviate from Del Taco's set standards and quality of service.
  • Revenue:
    • For the fiscal year ended January 1, 2019, Del Taco generated a total of $505.490 million in revenue.
    • Of this amount, restaurant sales accounted for $471.193 million while franchise revenue, advertising contributions, sublease, and other income accounted for the rest.
  • Cities/Countries They Have Footprints:
    • Del Taco operates in 580 locations in 14 states (including one franchise-operated restaurant in Guam) as of January 1, 2019. These states range from California, Nevada, and Arizona to Washington, Florida, and South Carolina.
    • In the same fiscal year, it opened "13 new company-operated and 12 new franchise-operated restaurants." And in 2019, it plans to open a minimum of 25 new system-wide restaurants across established and emerging markets, such as California, Oklahoma, Tennessee, etc.

Rubio's Coastal Grill

  • Competitive advantage:
    • Rubio's offers a menu based on the combination of coastal-inspired flavors, roots and farm-fresh ingredients with its Mexican recipe and heritage to prepare "award-winning fish tacos and inventive burritos and bowls that consumers would love and feel great about."
    • Alongside its famous fish tacos, Rubio's also gains a competitive edge from its "array of one-of-a-kind recipes focusing on grilled seafood to create excellent coastal cuisines.
  • Strengths:
  • Perceived Weaknesses:
    • Rubio's has limited market share because it mainly focuses on coastal cuisines and has restaurants in just six states.
    • Rubio's is unable to expand as rapidly as its competitors because its restaurants are operated based on a company-owned model as opposed to a franchise model.
  • Revenue:
  • Cities/Countries They Have Footprints:
    • While Rubio's is based off in San Diego, it operates about 200 restaurants across the US.
    • These restaurants are present in California, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada, with Florida being the latest market it expanded into, through acquisitions.
Part
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Part
08

Taco John's - Competitors: The Findings Part Four

Qdoba Mexican Eats and La Salsa Mexican Grills are among Taco John's seven key competitors in the US. They are all in the business of serving Mexican foods. Taco John's was founded in 1969, many years before Qdoba and Salsa were launched, giving it the advantage of experience in the industry. It is currently rated higher than Qdoba and La Salsa.

Taco John's Competitors: Qdoba Mexican Eats & La Salsa Fresh Mexican Grill

Qdoba Mexican Eats

Competitive Advantage

  • Current Yelp ratings give Qdoba Mexican Eats an A on health score. With this kind of score, their guests can rest assured they will not have health challenges when they dine at their restaurants.
  • Qdoba can accommodate a whole range of guest group sizes. Their facilities have provisions for hosting small groups of 10 or fewer and large groups of up to 100 guests. Outdoor arrangements can be made for guests who do not wish to be served indoors.
  • They have facilities to make children happy and comfortable at their locations. Guests with kids will have no worries about the comfort of their kids.
  • Qdoba accepts credit cards so guests do not need to carry cash.
  • They also have gender-neutral restrooms as a gesture of inclusivity.

Strengths

  • Glassdoor reviews show that the staff at Qdoba love their work. The say a supportive management, fair remuneration and free food offers are the main reasons they enjoy being at Qdoba. This motivates the staff to readily provide excellent service.
  • Qdoba menu prices are publicly available and are regularly updated. Guests can accurately budget for their purchases at Qdoba.
  • Qdoba always serves fresh food. This is confirmed by their own staff in glassdoor reviews.
  • For three years, Qdoba has run a charity campaign serving food-insecure American children.

Perceived Weaknesses

  • According to the latest Yelp report, Qdoba does not take reservations. This cuts off guests who would have visited Qdoba if the reservation option was in place.
  • Qdoba does not have Wi-Fi connection in their locations, making them unattractive to the digital generation. Most people want to have access to Wi-Fi everywhere they go.
  • Since they do not serve alcohol in their locations, guests who wish to drink alcohol with their meals will seek alternative options.

Revenue

  • A D&B Hoovers report shows that Qdoba's revenue for the latest financial report was about $122.61 million.
  • The Hoovers report also indicates that Appollo Global Management plans to take over Qdoba at a cost of $350 million.

Footprint

La Salsa Fresh Mexican Grill

Competitive Advantage

  • La Salsa has been in the food industry for about three decades. Recipes are picked from across Mexico and improved on with an expert touch to ensure they give their guests an amazing experience.
  • La Salsa boasts of an extra ordinary kitchen environment, professional staff and fresh food. The Salsa bar is one of their greatest attractions. Guests enjoy dancing and dining as they listen to live music.
  • According to information on their website, guests can order food online. Outside catering orders will be delivered within 48 hours of a request. Information on the charges for food orders is publicly available to enable guests make informed decisions.
  • La Salsa has a vast network of franchises in the US and across the globe. Usually, they provide support to every new franchise until they are able to compete favorably in the market place.

Strengths

  • Their latest Yelp health score is 72%, but they did not have any health violations. Food safety and hygiene are top priorities at La Salsa.
  • They take reservations and deliver. They go an extra mile to ensure guests are served conveniently according to their preferences.

Perceived Weaknesses

  • Yelp reviews point to the fact that structures and furnishings in some of their locations are worn out and need an upgrade. This may cause them lose guests to restaurants that have a more pleasant ambiance.
  • Other Yelp reviews complain of dirty tables being a common case at La Salsa. This may lower their health score in the long run.
  • Some reviews reveal a problem with their waiters' professionalism. It is claimed that some of them are rude to guests and at times do not take time to listen to guests' orders keenly.

Revenue

  • BPlan consultants report that the revenue per La Salsa location ranges between $400,000 and $1,000,000 depending on the location. When calculated based on 100 locations across the U.S., La Salsa's annual revenue is between $40 million and $100 million.
  • La Salsa charges a fee of between $25,000 and $50,000 for each new franchise. This is a major source of revenue for them.

Footprint

Research Strategy

Your research team's efforts to access La Salsa revenue information were not very fruitful. We initially searched their website for their 2018 financial reports without success. Being a private firm, the research team thinks La Salsa is under no obligation to post their financial reports publicly. Your research team's second attempt was to access this information via renowned online financial databases. Several databases in this category were searched, including the D&B Hoovers website, but no results were found. The final attempt by the team was to access the information via online financial consultants who use select business firms as case studies. Your research team searched Business Plan Consultants (BPlan) website and fortunately they had used La Salsa as a case study. The portion of information available to the public only enabled us to estimate the range of revenue in La Salsa's locations. Bplan reported that La Salsa's estimate revenue per location is between $400,000 and $1,000,000 per year depending on the rate of activity at the location.

Your research team used this information to work out La Salsa's estimate revenue range per year. Information collected earlier had shown they have more than 100 locations in the US. The research team decided to play safe by working with 100 locations. (The calculation for their annual revenue was based on formula; Estimate revenue range per location of $400, 000 to $1 000, 000 multiplied by the 100 locations. This yielded a revenue estimate of between $40M and $100M per year)
Sources
Sources

From Part 02
From Part 04