R&D Team Puts TacoTime Franchise Owners into Test Kitchens
Product development at TacoTime is guided by advice and input from franchise owners, who offer up customer suggestions and more
The food brings a steady stream of customers into every TacoTime® Mexican food franchise daily. But even the biggest fan might want to try something new on occasion, and that’s why TacoTime’s R&D team works year-round on new and flavorful additions to the already great fare at each restaurant.
“The restaurant business is about being creative and inventive, but smart operators don’t trot out new products just for the sake of cashing in on a trend,” says Kevin Gingrich, President. “At TacoTime there is no interest in that approach. TacoTime has been known for more than 50 years for great-tasting food, and that’s what the R&D team keeps top of mind when working on new items.”
Franchise owner input key to process
Even though that team works in the corporate test kitchens, it’s not operating in a vacuum. That’s because many TacoTime Mexican food franchise owners are recruited to serve on committees that provide advice and input into every aspect of the brand’s operations, from R&D to marketing and promotion. For example, the New Product Evaluation Committee works one-on-one with the R&D and brand teams to develop new products.
“Franchise owners are in the kitchen tasting and rating potential new menu items,” Kevin says. “Many of those items have come directly from franchise owners experimenting in their own locations, or from customers who might have an idea of a new ingredient for a favorite item, or a flavor blend that they want TacoTime to try. Everything’s on the table, and these franchise owners play a huge role in new-product development.”
Franchise owners are serious stakeholders
What this all means, Kevin says, is that every TacoTime Mexican food franchise owner isn’t out on his or her own, but is tied into a network where opinions and input count.
“We firmly believe that the franchise owners are TacoTime’s eyes and ears, because they’re interacting with loyal customers every day,” he says. “They are hearing about what customers like on the menu, and what they’d like to see added or at least tried out. When they bring that information to the R&D team, and a product makes it through testing and out to a trial location, those owners and their customers can see just how much their input matters. That’s a huge differentiator for TacoTime.”
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.