Frequent Specials Add Interest to TacoTime Menu, Drive Business
Limited-time menu items boost customer traffic and give franchisees a way
to make customer suggestions a reality
Promotions and specials drive business in the restaurant industry, and they are high priority for everyone in the TacoTime® Mexican food franchise brand. From owners who listen to their customers on social media to corporate teams who research and implement the best ways to satisfy those consumer demands, everyone is involved in helping ensure promotions and specials satisfy current fans, attract new ones and live up to incredibly high food standards.
“The key difference with TacoTime is our taste profile,” says Kevin Gingrich, the President of TacoTime who also owns multiple TacoTime locations in Utah. “It tastes good because of the seasonings that we have, which are proprietary spice blends created for TacoTime. But a bigger unique factor is how many items we make in-house. From our hand-rolled Crisp Burritos, to making the taco shells — which most people don’t know that we do — to the array of other items that are made in-house, we do it from scratch. We make our own salsas and cook our own taco meat every two hours. The norm in the QSR space is where brands bring in products through the back door, maybe reheat it or just pour it out of a bag. We don’t do that. We cook it in-house, and that’s why it tastes better.”
Specials are inspired by customer input and guided by franchisee expertise
TacoTime has a 50-year reputation of great food and superior customer service. No matter how solid a restaurant’s menu is, being creative with flavors and cooking techniques keeps things fun and engaging for customers. A well-thought-out promotional calendar inspired by customer input and shaped by franchisees is a vital way to build a loyal customer base and bring in new guests.
“We are a very unique brand. Unlike other fast-casual franchise options, the TacoTime franchisees have a major say in operations,” Gingrich says. “We have co-op meetings, in which we review everything from marketing ideas to R&D on menu items and packaging. It even gets down to the taco wrappings and the cups we’re using. Everything we do, we want our franchisees on board.”
As a franchise owner himself, Kevin knows the value of those conversations. That’s why, in addition to the co-ops and other owner-representative groups, there’s also a marketing council that focuses solely on brand outreach and communications.
“We have a long and successful history of marketing the TacoTime Mexican food franchise brand, and that’s because these campaigns aren’t dreamed up by someone who’s never been in one of the restaurants,” he says. “The best ideas, and most effective programs, come from the owners themselves.”
Franchisees weigh-in on promotions
As is the case with all business areas at TacoTime, promotions are heavily influenced by owners. The franchisee Creative Review Committee looks at promotional artwork being developed for use at TacoTime locations, such as point-of-purchase materials, as well as ad campaigns for use in traditional or online media. They find out what’s happening in the test kitchens, which keeps them looped in on R&D efforts, as well.
“They can see the products, look at photography and ad materials,” Gingrich explains. “Then after we’ve heard their input, we move on to testing in a few stores. They’re kept up to speed on how the testing goes in terms of customer reaction, so they can weigh in with the other owners and help decide if an idea is going to make it out across all the restaurants.”
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