COMMENTARY

Ode to the taco: Why the old-school menu item is trending

Feb. 20, 2017

By Sean Baker, President,digital-advertisingagency, IMM    

Mexican cuisine is not new to fast casual — not even close. In fact, the burrito is arguably what started the whole thing.  Tacos, however, are a hot trend that restaurant brands of all types and sizes are capitalizing on.

And there are a few chief reasons why tacos are such a popular item as both the overarching theme of a menu and simply as a new item.  

Versatility: Tacos come in all shapes and sizes. From flour or corn tortillas to naan bread and more, tacos are the ideal vehicle for any number of delicious flavors. And, because they are made to order, they can easily be customized, thus offering easy adds and substitutions for guests without creating an operational nightmare.

Anything goes: As our palates evolve to include a multitude of international flavors, restaurants struggle to keep up with current trends whilst remaining true to their brand. Tacos are an authentic catch-all where everything is an acceptable interpretation. Brands can easily offer a taco with Mexican, Asian and/or Indian flavors without seeming trite or that they are trying too hard.  

No veto: Because tacos are so customizable and often follow the latest food trends, there's always something for everyone. This eliminates the ever-powerful veto vote when dining with friends or family. From vegan to carnivorous, Mexican to barbecue, tacos allow everyone to enjoy their meal without infringing on the preferences of others.

A new go-to: We've all been with a significant other or family member when the response to, "What you do you feel like eating?" is "I don't care."  Rather than allowing that statement to send you into a tailspin, allow tacos to be your life raft. The diner trying to make healthy choices and the diner in the mood for something indulgent are both satisfied. Finally, there's a menu item that can keep the peace.

Innovation: Tacos allow restaurants to flex their culinary muscle without asking your guests to stray too far from their comfort zone. Tacos are a great option for limited-time offers as a mechanism to test new flavor profiles and as a way to attract new guests.  

Whether you're handling restaurant marketing for a Mexican restaurant, a comfort food establishment or an Asian bistro, tacos are a great way to appeal to the masses and try something new while staying within the acceptable range of innovation. After all, who hasn't thrown a bunch of ingredients together at the end of a shift to create an impromptu taco? You're already doing it; share it with your guests.  

Cover photo: istock


Topics: Food & Beverage, Trends / Statistics


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