Food & Drink International - Winter 2017, Volume 2 - 85
to remain efficient and effective. However, one challenge for the company
has been navigating social media to
"Social media has both its positive
and negative aspects," Upshaw explains. "For example, if a customer
comes in and unfortunately has a bad
experience in your restaurant, they
will post about it on social media and
trash the particular location without a
Upshaw notes that "nothing is perfect," but each Taco Casa employee
does their best to provide unparalleled
customer service to every guest that
comes into their location. "We serve
50,000 customers per day," Upshaw
says. "We know we won't be able to
make everyone happy, but we try our
"I know some major companies have
hired a team of people to watch social
media," she continues. "However, I
would prefer hiring people to oversee
our stores to ensure our recipes are
correct, employees are cooking correctly and also providing guests with
the best customer service as they possibly can."
Ultimately, Taco Casa will remain
true to its customers and its core values as it moves forward. "We have had
people tell us that we won't make it if
we don't add breakfast, fried chicken or
vegetarian options," she explains. "We
have had naysayers all through the last
45 years criticize us. Despite that we
have not compromised our values or
vision, and it has worked."
Upshaw adds that remaining humble
has contributed to the company's success. "We have not become greedy,"
she says. "Could we have expanded
our menu, yes. But why? For example,
if someone wants chicken fajitas they
can go to their other favorite restaurant
that serves that dish - and we're OK
with that. We know when they want a
great taco or one of the other 15 items
we're proud to serve they will come to
our restaurant and get it.
"People like the fact that they know
what they're going to get when they
come to our restaurants, which is consistency and dependability," she adds.
"We're just going to keep on doing what
we do best. And we appreciate what our
employees do for our company, and appreciate that our customers love us."
Taco Casa's nonprofit J Way Foundation aims to enrich the lives of the less
fortunate in its communities. Recently, the nonprofit rolled out its Taco Casa
"Feed the Hungry" taco truck, which provides free meals for homeless individuals, feeds volunteers at charity events and helps families in need in its
"It's nice when you can give back to your community," founder and COO
Shelda Upshaw says. "We try very hard to help where we can. Texas has
been good to us, so we encourage our franchisees to give back as well. We
help out with high school bands, 4-H Clubs, among other organizations.
Taco Casa also has its own marketing company - Creative Specialties - to
not only provide its franchisees with marketing support but work in partnership with the J Way Foundation.
"Creative Specialties helps us get reduced prices on marketing tools for
giveaways and promotions," Upshaw says. "We have given away things to
the homeless, such as t-shirts, hats and rain ponchos. We recently distributed 1,000 socks. We also have donation boxes in all of our stores and hope
that our fans will be generous because it helps us fund the projects of the J
food & drink international * winter 2017 volume 2 * www.fooddrink-magazine.com