Food & Drink International - Winter 2017, Volume 2 - 84
will have opened five new stores. Next year, the company
aims to open another five. "That's our goal, but we have several on the horizon," Upshaw says, noting the company wants
to grow strategically.
"We're a small operation, so we don't want to get ahead
of ourselves," she says. Upshaw adds that the company is
still family owned and operated, which allows Taco Casa to
remain nimble and pivot when necessary.
"With many companies, I think there is too big of a separation between the people making the decisions and the management and customers," she says. "We are very hands-on.
For example, we read every single piece of mail and email
that we receive."
She notes that Taco Casa supervisors visit each of its locations, all but two of which are franchises, at least once a month.
The company employs 3,000 people through its franchisees,
who oversee their training with the help of the company.
"When a brand-new store opens we are there at least a
month to help with training," Upshaw explains. "Or if the
store is going through some type of transition, we also send
people from corporate to help with training."
Taco Casa also helps its newly signed franchises with
choosing locations to open their restaurants. "Our franchisees typically have an area in mind already," she says. "If we
approve the area, then they provide my husband with several
proposed locations within the area."
The company typically likes to open restaurants in cities
with populations of at least 30,000. "We've been in business
a long time, so we pretty much know what will and won't
work," Upshaw says.
One thing is for certain, the company wants to continue
to concentrate on Texas because it has so much untapped
potential, according to Upshaw. "We haven't even touched
the surface of Texas yet because it's so huge," she says. "We
don't have any locations in Houston, Austin or Corpus Christi. So the sky is the limit as far as Texas goes."
Upshaw and her husband are originally from California.
They owned three Taco Bell franchises in Memphis until they
sold them back to corporate and moved to Texas in 1971.
The following year, the husband-and-wife duo opened their
first Taco Casa restaurant.
A passion for Texas keeps them residing in the state. "We
felt that Texas was a good move for us after California," Upshaw says. "It's hard to do business in a state with so many restrictions. As for Texas, everything is bigger and better here."
Taco Casa has kept up with market changes by implementing state-of-the-art POS systems and drive-thru equipment
food & drink international * winter 2017 volume 2 * www.fooddrink-magazine.com