Cheyenne, Wyo. — Taco John’s International Inc., a quick-serve Mexican franchise, is unveiling its newest store design concept, the Drive Thru Olé, which was first piloted in 2021 and whose original idea — based on modular buildings — dates back to the company founding in 1969 in Cheyenne, Wyo.
Drive Thru Olé is less than half the size of its traditional location footprint, requiring only .35 to .50 acres of land. This latest prototype is quicker to build and costs significantly less than the traditional freestanding unit that is 2,200 square feet with 38 seats. It ranges from 900 square feet to 1,100 square feet, and the exterior structure arrives to the site ready-built, interior finished (FRP, floor tile, ceiling grid and tile), along with HVAC, electrical, plumbing, three comp sink and hood and the kitchen equipment is installed on the spot.
Taco John’s, which began in 1969, originally built modular style, walk-up only restaurants in Cheyenne, Wyo. The modular buildings would then be shipped to towns across the upper Midwest where franchisees would own and operate them. The brand has taken this original concept and revived it to fit modern times.
“With rising construction costs, Taco John’s has an option that makes it economically feasible to build stores in smaller markets, our focus initially is in towns with a population less than 10,000, and some high-density areas where real estate is limited,” says Brooks Speirs, vice president of franchise development.
Taco John’s has partnered with Extreme Cubes in Las Vegas to build these locations in its 200,000-square-foot warehouse where it’s then shipped to the market. Once the unit has been placed, the kitchen equipment is then stationed, and the POS system, drive-thru head set system and signs are installed.
The main focus for the brand is still on building traditional freestanding units, with the Drive Thru Olé being another format that is attractive in certain markets. Drive-thru has proven to be the way of the future, as Taco John’s alone went from 62% drive-thru before COVID-19 to 82% drive-thru, third-party or to-go pickup ordering in 2022.
A Taco John’s franchisee, RF Buche, piloted the Drive Thru Olé concept in the Mission, S.D., market in August 2021. Since then, this location has far surpassed all set metrics and expectations. And, Buche has since opened his second Drive Thru Olé in Winner, S.D., (pictured), which is exceeding expectations as well. He is currently looking for real estate to continue to build his portfolio of Drive Thru Olés.
“I have been president of Buche Foods, with 22 grocery stores, convenience stores, hardware stores and fast food locations in our portfolio since 2000 and see a demand in rural markets for concepts like the Drive Thru Olé,” says Buche. “The simplicity and labor savings to not have to staff and operate a dining room has been a competitive advantage for us with this concept.”
For more information, visit www.tacojohnsfranchise.com.
What started out as a single taco stand in Cheyenne, Wyo., in 1969 has grown into over 380 quick-service Mexican restaurants across 23 states. For more information, visit www.tacojohns.com.
SOURCE: Taco John’s