Why Did Buffalo Wild Wings Invest in R Taco? The Gourmet Taco Concept's CEO Weighs In

Why Did Buffalo Wild Wings Invest in R Taco? The Gourmet Taco Concept's CEO Weighs In

By Kerri Adams, Editor-at-Large

As the fast casual category continues to grow with innovative concepts, new sectors have also emerged within this segment. Since this restaurant format has proven to be particularly appealing to diners and restaurateurs, experienced brands in other segments are either investing in or developing fast causal concepts.

The casual dining giant, Buffalo Wild Wings (BWW) recognized the potential in fast casual, specifically in the gourmet taco segment. In August of 2014, BWW bought a majority stake in Rusty Taco (now known as R Taco.) 

We decided to sit down with Steve Dunn, chief executive and co-founder of R Taco to learn more about the brand and see why BWW invested specifically in this gourmet taco concept. 

Why did Buffalo Wild Wings decide to venture into the fast casual market?

Dunn: In 2014, Buffalo Wild Wings made a majority investment in Rusty Taco (rebranded in 2015 to R Taco) as an entry point into the growing fast casual restaurant segment. This investment is aligned to Buffalo Wild Wings’ long-term growth strategies. Buffalo Wild Wings believes that R Taco has potential for significant growth, is a concept that can work regardless of geography, and has a fresh approach to tacos that truly sets it apart.”

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The Rise of the Gourmet Taco Concepts

The Rise of the Gourmet Taco Concepts

By Kerri Adams, Editor-at-Large

As the competitive landscape of the restaurant industry gets more crowded, we are seeing more emerging concepts that have a narrower focus.

There are comfort food concepts serving primarily an array of grilled cheeses and mac & cheese. There are restaurants that offer menus made up of entirely meatballs. Even, Arepas concepts have emerged.

Similarly, to the gourmet burger segment, a new segment is on the rise. Gourmet tacos.

“Fresh Mex” remains a wildly popular and successful segment, especially in fast casual. But, these gourmet taco concepts deserve to be categorized on their own.

So what are some of the elevated taco concepts gaining traction in this market? And why consumers by the masses are visiting these places?

We decided to sit down with three executives from different taco-focused restaurants to see what makes each of these concepts unique and why consumers are gravitating to them.

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Rusty Taco Rebrands as R Taco

Logo Courtesy of R Taco

Logo Courtesy of R Taco

Dallas local favorite Rusty Taco has announced plans to rebrand its concept, including a name change to R Taco. The restaurant, which was purchased by Buffalo Wild Wings last year, will be rolling out a new logo as well as a new interior design over the coming months. While the taco restaurant was previously named for its co-founder Rusty Fenton, who died in 2013, Fenton's widow worked with the team to help conceptualize the rebranding and claims the new look will honor her late husband's legacy by keeping the concept fresh and relevant nationwide.

Other than the name change and redesign, CEO Steve Dunn claims there will be no other changes to the concept. Read More