Velvet Taco’s Weekly Taco Feature

Velvet Taco is a fast-growing, fast-casual restaurant based in Dallas, Texas.

While most restaurant locations are in Texas, the company is expanding throughout the Southeast, and already has 3 locations in Chicago. The goal is to reach 100 units by 2026.

While many quick serve restaurants are looking for efficiencies by trimming their menu, Velvet Taco is keeping its menu complexities, including the Weekly Taco Feature — a new taco every week, 52 weeks per year. The Weekly Taco Feature even varies from location to location.

Additionally, the Weekly Taco Feature is based on seasonality and ingredient availability. Examples include the El Jefe, composed of a grilled filet, tempura lobster, crispy potatoes, sun-dried tomato aioli, arugula salad, chimichurri on flour tortilla, and the Kung Pao Cashew Chicken, composed of crispy tenders, kung pao sauce, stir-fry veggies, roasted cashews, scallions, buttered cilantro basmati rice on a flour tortilla.

Velvet Taco even turned to AI to generate one of its Weekly Taco Features.


Video Spotlight:  


This post is based on the Nation’s Restaurant News article, How Velvet Taco Keeps Up with Its Weekly Taco Feature, by Alicia Kelso, April 11, 2024, and the YouTube videos in the Spotlight. Image source: Foodcollection / Image Source

Discussion Questions:

1. Why offer the Weekly Taco Feature?

Guidance: The concept of the Weekly Taco Feature is to drive repeat business. Velvet Taco hopes customers will enjoy the Weekly Taco Feature and return each week for the new taco.

2.  What are the operational consequences of the Weekly Taco Feature?

Guidance: By offering a Weekly Taco Feature, the company is adding complexity to its operations. This typically increases cost of operations, and makes providing a quality product and/or service more difficult.

3. What is needed to execute the Weekly Taco Feature?

Guidance: In order to successfully have a new product each week, it requires continuous development of new tacos. Many fast-casual restaurants change their menu on a regular basis, but Velvet Taco’s Weekly Taco Feature requires over 50 new tacos per year. Velvet Taco must have a good, structured product development process in order to have this many new tacos each year.

And, their strategy is to drive repeat business to the restaurant for the Weekly Taco Feature. Therefore, each new design needs to be outstanding. Once a taco is developed, procedures (recipes) need to be developed to cook the taco. Many restaurants have detailed procedures as to how the item is to be prepared. But this item is only made for one week.

The question becomes how much detail goes into this cooking procedure. Once the procedure is developed, cooks need to be trained on making the taco. Additionally, the company’s supply chain must be flexible enough to accommodate new ingredients for the Weekly Taco Feature. Timing will be important to make sure the ingredients arrive at the correct time.

Further, forecasts will be needed to determine the quantity of ingredients. This is difficult when tacos are changing each week, complicating the forecasting process.

Also, Velvet Taco needs to coordinate any advertising campaigns with the Weekly Taco Feature introduction to maximize the benefit.

4. What skill level is needed for the Velvet Taco cooks?

Guidance: Most quick serve restaurants do not hire skilled chefs. But with the constant change due to the Weekly Taco Feature, it could be better for Velvet Taco to hire more skilled cooks. The deciding factor could be with the product development process. If the company can create detailed procedures (recipes) that can be easily followed, then less skilled workers would be appropriate.

However, if, due to time constraints, a detailed procedure can’t be developed, more skilled cooks could interpret the recipe to ensure a high-quality product. Obviously, hiring cooks with higher skill levels will tend to increase labor costs.

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