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Leverage The Profitable Taco Craze

Culinary, Industry Trends, Serving Solutions

Americans love tacos and consume more than 4.5 billion of them annually.1 They are also a profitable menu item, generating over $15 billion in revenue from limited-service restaurants alone.2 If you’re a foodservice operator currently not menuing tacos, you’re potentially missing out on an incremental revenue stream.

Aside from their unlimited profit potential, tacos are an extremely versatile menu item and easy to add to your lineup. Literally, anything goes! From traditional meats to trending toppings and craveable carriers, you can offer a variety of options to meet this growing demand. You have a delicious opportunity to get creative with fillings and experiment with sauces and shells.

Whether you are a fast-casual operator looking to add tacos to your menu, or already offering them as part of your Mexican fare, but sales are slow, here are some simple ways to boost orders and profits:

Taco Bars

One way to get your tacos to stand out is by offering a taco bar. Pick a day of the week (think the ever-popular Taco Tuesdays), a happy hour, or a pre-game event for your taco bar. Offer a selection of meats that accommodate varying palates – beef, chicken, plant-based – and include a variety of toppings, sauces, and shell styles and you have an easy, self-serve system to feed the masses. IntelliServ® Warmers keep your prepared meats, refried beans, and other warm taco bar toppings at safe temperatures by using digital temperature control to ensure accurate warming and holding. Available with 1/3-size or two 1/6-size steam table pans depending on your desired configuration.

Birria Tacos

One of the hottest trends in tacos hitting mainstream menus and Tex-Mex street stands is birria, a Mexican stewed meat.3 According to Datassential, birria’s appearance on menus had grown by 144% in the past four years.4 Birria is typically served with the savory broth it is cooked in as a dippable accompaniment to orders. Food Pumps & Dispensers provide a convenient and simple way to fill ramekins and top birrias with consistent portions of broth and other sauces. From thin hot sauces to thicker salsas, you’ll find a variety of options to meet individual needs.

LTOs and Combos

Switching up your taco menu encourages repeat traffic, giving patrons an opportunity to stop back often and try your limited-time, signature tacos. While soft shells are preferred by 64% of Americans,5 LTOs provide the perfect way to experiment with inventive taco carriers. Lettuce cups, potato shells, and carved-out pineapple halves are all creative ways to serve your tacos. Fusion tacos combining different meats such as teriyaki chicken and banh mi-style pork is a trend making its way onto mainstream taco menus. Another trend and incremental profit driver are DIY taco kits for at-home consumption. These are perfect menu additions for to-go and delivery orders. Use Cold Serving Stations and Squeeze Bottle Holders and Stations to conveniently organize, hold, and serve prepped ingredients, salsas and sauces. Cold pans keep chopped tomatoes, onions, and shredded cheeses fresh and ready, while insulated bottle holder bases chill and hold up to eight signature sauces.

Make sure to promote your taco menu and LTOs on your social channels to drive foot traffic and site traffic for online delivery orders. Encourage patrons to post their taco pics on social and set up a loyalty program that rewards customers when they do. For additional profit drivers, read How To Build A Loaded Mac ‘n Cheese Bar and How To Create a Sundae Station.


1, 2, 5 Taco Statistics And Trends in 2023, Blog, Gitnux

3 Birria, the Mexican stewed meat, is the hottest trend in tacos, NRN, April 19, 2023

4 The emergence of Birria, Datassential, 11.28.22