Innovation: The Key to Thriving in Rural and Urban Markets

Franchises that succeed in both rural and urban markets can be hard to develop and maintain longevity– that’s why it’s essential to develop innovative and strategic ways to satisfy diverse markets. Taco John’s has done exactly that – it’s no wonder we were recently named to Entrepreneur’s 2023 Franchise 500!

Currently Taco John’s Drive Thru Ole is changing the game for the Mexican Quick Service Industry – better yet the franchise industry as a whole. If you haven’t heard of them yet, they’re our newest store design and they’re less than half the size of our traditional storefronts, requiring only .35 to .50 acres of land, compared to almost a full acre for our traditional locations.

Given the smaller footprint and simple building process, this makes for an excellent investment opportunity for franchisees looking to cut costs. The structure arrives to the site ready-built with a finished interior and requires less employees than traditional locations as there is no dining room to service or maintain.

Take it from our franchisee RF Buche, who piloted the Drive Thru Ole concept in Mission, South Dakota in 2021. He was met with Taco John’s fanatics jumping at the chance to experience the new concept and has since attracted a loyal following, which exceeded all expectations and metrics. As a result of the impressive performance at his first location, he opened a second in Winner, South Dakota which is equally exceeding prospects.

As we expand our Drive Thru Ole concept in rural markets with plans to roll out three to five openings this year and 10 to 15 the following year, we’re also honing in on urban markets through the launch of our new restaurant support center, test kitchen and sensory testing lab in Minneapolis. This serves as part of our initiative to roll out a menu makeover, testing out new items like the Pulled Pork Quesadilla. We’re working to satisfy customer cravings and drive expansion outside our Midwestern roots and expand into Eastern and Southern states, serving both rural and urban territories.

We’re a 53-year-old brand with an emphasis on innovation to satisfy a variety of markets – a testament to our staying power in the Mexican Quick Service Industry.