By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Taco John’s is expanding its corporate office to Minnesota, the restaurant’s president and CEO announced Monday morning.
At a press conference, Jim Creel told reporters that the Cheyenne-based corporation will open a satellite office in Minneapolis. He stated that the idea to expand came about two years ago when he instituted a strategic planning process.
During that process, the company’s board of directors agreed that the expansion should be inside the restaurant’s existing area of operation, which would allow for the greatest potential of growth. Since there are more than 200 Taco John’s locations within a few hours drive from Minneapolis, the board felt expanding to that area made the most sense.
“This is an exciting time for Taco John’s,” Creel said in a news release. “We have taken a number of steps over the past two years to lay the foundation for expansion. In order for it to take place, we decided that we needed to have a presence where it was all happening.”
Creel told Cowboy State Daily that he expected the satellite office to open in March 2020, with around 15 staffers holding down the fort. Only a few employees from the Cheyenne headquarters will make the transition to the Minnesota, with most of the rest being new hires.
“When we’re driving from Cheyenne to Denver to fly out to Minneapolis, we’re losing most of the day,” he told CSD. “It’s the same when we return. The chain will benefit from having our people out working with the franchisees more consistently.”
With the announcement, Creel said he’s had potential franchisees contact him about opening new locations in the Minneapolis area.
While some franchisee-oriented departments will be centered in Minneapolis, most of the corporation will continue to be headquartered in Cheyenne, since that’s where the restaurant chain was founded more than 50 years ago. Creel added that the impact of the expansion to the Cheyenne headquarters would be minimal and should only last for a short time.
“Concurrently, it makes good business sense for departments that provide direct franchisee support to be located where the majority of the franchisees and future franchisees are located,” he said in his news release.
Taco John’s recent successes made the opportunity for expansion much easier, with a new menu and restaurant redesign that’s soon to be adopted across the country. The store on Cheyenne’s South Greeley Highway was the first to feature this prototype.
Creel added that he expected expansion in the Cheyenne headquarters would occur at some point in the future, but he said it was too early to specify what changes might take place.
However, Creel did note that he thinks there will be around 15 new stores opening in 2020 and 20 opening the following year, a rapid growth compared to the company’s normal opening schedule. Creel stated that the ultimate goal for Taco John’s is to have around 500 to 600 stores in the country. Right now, the company is looking to expand in cities including Kansas City, Missouri, Omaha, Nebraska, St. Louis and certain cities in Kentucky.
Currently, Taco John’s operates and franchises around 400 stores in 23 states.
“We wouldn’t have been able to expand had we not put together back-to-back outstanding years,” he said in the news release. “I have been with Taco John’s for 20 years now and I haven’t seen excitement like this in the franchisee community.”