Meet Multi-Unit Wyoming TacoTime Franchise Owners Denise and Lee Staley
Ongoing franchisee input and the ability to help mold the brand’s growth both locally and nationally have been high points of their TacoTime experience
If Denise Staley had been asked 40 years ago if she saw a career operating TacoTime® Mexican food franchise locations, she probably would have said no. Looking back on it, however, she’ll add that it’s turned out to be a great experience for her, her husband Lee, and their family.
“My in-laws had purchased the original franchise, and then built out to include a group of five locations,” Staley says. “We bought them and since then have built two new buildings at different locations to upgrade and update them. We own all our land for each site, and they’re all within about 100 miles of each other.”
TacoTime prides itself as a brand with ongoing and vocal franchise owner input. Advisory councils and review boards help cover everything from operational issues to new product evaluation, marketing and rollout. The Staleys, as longtime owners, have served in many if not all of those roles over the years.
“We’re a true partner with the franchise, not just owners out in the field,” she says. “They literally take what we say and make those suggestions happen. We certainly don’t get to make all the decisions, but we do get to be heavily involved in decision making, and that has helped us and the other owners do well over the years.”
For instance, she adds, “We study trends and work with our brand’s corporate chef on recipes to test in the stores. We also get to provide input on the promotional calendar for the year, and that’s huge. There are a lot of franchises where they just tell you what you’re going to sell, and how much to sell it for, but that’s not the way TacoTime works.”
Fresh, affordable food makes a difference
Staley also highlights the focus on fresh ingredients and sensible pricing when it comes to the operational longevity of their TacoTime Mexican food franchise locations.
“We were the very first ‘fast food’ restaurant in Rock Springs, which is the biggest town we operate in, and so we have history here,” she says. “But we’re known for fresh products, and how we make everything fresh every day and throughout the day, including our chips and shells. We’re known for that vs. for being quick, which is the kind of reputation we want to have.”
Holding onto such core business practices while also working to help TacoTime evolve has kept the business challenging for the Staleys, and they have enjoyed their time with the brand.
“We’re still doing things like crisp burritos that we did in the 1970s, because you can’t go wrong with tacos, burritos and enchiladas,” she says. “But we rolled out the sweet pork burrito as a trial and now it’s on the national menu. It’s fun working to keep things changing while sticking to what we do best. Now we just need to find someone to eventually take over from us like we did for my husband’s parents!”
TacoTime is ready for the spotlight. With more than 350 locations in the United States and Canada, the Mexican food franchise is ready to break out of its home turf in the Pacific Northwest and hit the national stage. TacoTime is looking for entrepreneurs who are passionate about bringing authentic and affordable Mexican food to their communities. TacoTime is led by a veteran franchise team and dedicated brand support team as part of the Kahala Brands™ family.