Taco John’s – A Concept with All-Day Appeal

Taco John’s does strong business during all dayparts and is a breakfast leader in Mexican QSR multi-unit franchises

Taco John's franchise breakfast
Taco John’s has offered breakfast for over a decade, with breakfast sales continuing to rise.

Taco John’s multi-unit franchises have been winning customers since 1969 by using bold, Mexican-inspired flavors and fresh ingredients to create a menu that has earned fanatic devotion from its customers. That devotion extends to the entire day, with customers flowing through our drive-thrus for breakfast, stopping in for lunch and dinner, and streaming in for snacks from morning to night.

Many fast food franchises are struggling to expand and diversify their dayparts. While the competition’s parking lots may be empty in the morning (save, perhaps, for the car of a manager prepping for lunch), Taco John’s is feeding the breakfast crowd, turning the morning commute into a march of happy, Mexican Donut Bite and Breakfast Burrito noshing drivers.

Our biggest crowds hit at lunchtime, with customers embracing combos, Taco John’s core menu items, and limited-time-offer items. Another big wave of customers flock in at dinner, and we do steady business during the prime snacking hours — between lunch and dinner and later in the night. Here’s a look at when our customers came in during 2016. These numbers represent a system-wide average. Individual stores will have different results.

Breakfast Lunch Afternoon Dinner Night
8% 38% 17% 26% 11%

Breakfast business is growing fast

Potato Olés® Scrambler
Potato Olés® Scrambler

Taco John’s launched its breakfast menu at selected franchises a decade ago, and the menu quickly became a hit. Since 2013, the menu has been offered at all Taco John’s nationwide.

Ted Miller, who manages 11 Taco John’s locations in Sioux Falls and also owns a Taco John’s restaurant, was one of the first to embrace the breakfast daypart.

“We saw the dividends that breakfast would pay,” he says. “There are only so many hours in a day, and being able to attract breakfast diners can have a big impact. When we started, no one else in Mexican was doing breakfast. Now the whole chain is very strong in the breakfast market.”

Winning breakfast customers allows restaurant owners to capture extra sales with minimal additional staffing. Since your manager is already in the restaurant prepping for lunch, one or two extra people — paired with a proven menu and marketing strategy — is all it takes to start building a breakfast business. We’ve been refining our breakfast menu and marketing strategy for a decade, and we continue to see strong growth.

Clayton Hartman, who owns and co-owns several locations in Colorado and Wyoming, says “Breakfast is growing like crazy because our breakfast is really good.”

“Breakfast is the best-growing part of the QSR segment, and our burritos are right in the crosshairs — they are quick to make, and they are easy to eat on the interstate while crossing town,” he said. “And we have options. My wife is petite, and she likes the junior breakfast burritos. Those are popular with people who just want a snack, too. For the bigger appetite, we sell a whole lot of the regular breakfast burrito, too.”

Snacking options meet growing market

Mexi Rolls® at Taco John's multi-unit franchises
Mexi Rolls®

In 2016, 28% of our revenue came during the afternoon and night dayparts — prime snacking hours. We offer several snackable menu options. In addition to tacos, we offer items like chips and queso, Potato Olés®, and Mexi Rolls® — crispy tortilla shells wrapped around seasoned beef, refried beans, and cheese that can be ordered in two, four, or six piece portions.

Our snack items are another way — in addition to bold flavors, freshness, and quality — that Taco John’s is well-positioned to capture more business as consumer preferences change.

“Millennials, ranging in age from late teens to mid-30s, often perceive dining as eating small portions and sharing food throughout the day,” Barney Wolf writes in QSR. “And restaurants are striving to be the go-to spot for Millennials and other folks seeking to satisfy their in-between-meal munchies with a wide range of items, including indulgent options that remove the guilt factor because they are smaller portions.”

Driving traffic for lunch and dinner

Six-Pack and a Pound® at Taco John's multi-unit franchises
Six-Pack and a Pound®

While breakfast and snacking have been growing strongly, Taco John’s has maintained its traditional strength in the lunch and dinner dayparts across its multi-unit franchises.

“We do tremendous business both in-store and through the drive-thru at lunch and dinner,” says Van Ingram, Vice President for Franchise Development. “We’ve become a regular part of our customers’ day — and that now includes breakfast.”

That loyalty is engendered both by our menu and by some iconic promotions that have become part of the lexicon for Taco John’s customers:

Taco Tuesday®: This long-running promotion attracts droves of fans to Taco John’s for discounted tacos. The once-a-week deal helps Taco John’s attract value-driven customers who learn about our food and keep coming back throughout the week.

Six-Pack and a Pound®: Another beloved deal is our “Six-Pack and a Pound,” which pairs six crispy beef tacos with a pound of Potato Olés®. It’s enough to satisfy the hungriest diners, and friends often split it as a snack.

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