How is the Menu Different?
Taco John’s menu offers bold, authentic Mexican flavors
When you ask Taco John’s franchisees for the biggest attribute that helps us stand out and win over customers, they’ll tell you it’s the quality of our food that makes us one the best Mexican franchise opportunities.
Tam Kennedy, multi-unit Taco John’s franchisee in Minnesota, said, “It’s not just the taco, it’s the people behind the taco. The pure taco love we have. Making sure our tacos are made fresh every day the way we want them. Our team learns to make actual recipes. There are measuring cups and spoons in our restaurants. We honor the recipes of our founders.” To learn more about Kennedy’s experience with Taco John’s, read more here.
Our food has a unique flavor profile thanks to our proprietary mix of spices and seasonings, as well as the careful attention of our culinary research team. You can see the menu here. Here’s how our menu is developed.
Fresh, real ingredients and attention to quality
Taco John’s has been committed to using real ingredients since 1969. We won’t take shortcuts and we’re unapologetic about doing things differently.
One of our signature items is Potato Olés®, which are fried and seasoned potato discs served as a side and also used as an ingredient in menu items like our Meat & Potato Burrito. It’s part of the flavor profile that makes the Taco John’s menu unique.
“Our commitment to quality also makes us unique. For instance, our chips and tortillas are made using a premium process. Those tortillas are then sent to restaurants where they are cut into chips and fried fresh daily. Our taco shell recipe and the cooking method we use for the shells are designed to provide a very specific amount of crunch and tenderness when customers take a bite. Even the molds that are used to produce the taco shells are specially engineered to make sure the shells fry properly,” says Bob Karisny, Vice President of Menu Strategy and Innovation.
“We could bring pre-cooked shells in through the backdoor of the store every day, but they wouldn’t be as good, and customers wouldn’t love them as much as fresh fried shells,” Karisny says. “If we found a vendor who could match our quality, we’d take a look, but we won’t compromise the guest experience. I am a fan of crispy tacos, and I consider it a measurement of our restaurants. The reason we sell so many crispy tacos is because all of the flavors are connected: the shell is right, the meat is right, the lettuce is right – we deliver flavor that other fast food chains can’t match.”
Beef is another great example of Taco John’s quality. The flavors you taste when you bite into our tacos come from our spices, our attention to detail and the quality of the ingredients.”
Best of Mexican franchise opportunities: How Taco John’s stays ahead of the Mexican food industry
The culinary team follows some interesting paths to generate new ideas for menu items. Every two years, they head to Mexico to learn about regional cuisines from renowned chefs. They also take regular “taco tours” of the United States, trying the menus of competing chains, as well as visiting popular Mexican restaurants and food trucks. Those flavors often turn up as limited time offers — such as a street-food-inspired beef taco.
Taco John’s also sponsors a culinary competition for high school students in Wyoming and Colorado, inviting them to create their own dishes and awarding scholarships to the winners. The competition allows Taco John’s to mentor the next generation of chefs, and also gives them valuable insights into what’s popular among young diners.
“They make items that they want to eat and they think their friends will like to eat, and when you have dozens of competitors, you see patterns emerge in the ingredients they use and the types of foods they make,” Bob Karisny says. “That helps us plan menu items that appeal to young diners and help our franchisees win their business.”
Taco John’s is one of the most innovative Mexican franchise opportunities. We hold an annual competition for franchisees’ employees, inviting them to submit their favorite “secret recipes” — off-menu items that they make for their own meals. Winners receive prizes.
“It’s fun for employees, a great way to reward the great folks who work for our franchisees and another source of ideas,” he says.