Taco Bueno

Turning around 9 years of declining sales in one year using a jalapeño bandolier.


The Results

Taco Bueno Reverse Decline Case Study Graphic

A Not-So-Bueno Situation

Following multiple changes in ownership, Bueno was in the midst of an identity crisis. The Tex-Mex QSR had lost their core essence and their target audience was drifting away. The result? A steep decline in sales.

Nevertheless, we stepped in to wrangle the brand and attract new guests, consequently boosting sales.

First Thing's First

Taco Bueno’s brand needed some TLC, and we had plenty to give. We took a strategic step back and recognized a problem: Taco Bueno consumers were confused. Was this a fast-casual restaurant serving up fancy menu items with steep prices, or an affordable, authentic Tex-Mex QSR? 

After a Brand DNA analysis, we helped Bueno discover their true identity: A QSR that serves more authentic Tex-Mex than its competitors. This made it easier to focus on Bueno’s key strengths: fresh ingredients, handmade salsas, refried beans from scratch and simmered for hours and hand-rolled taquitos. Yep, our mouths were watering too. 


Tex-Mex Without Regret

Taco Bueno’s core customer base was slowly aging and eating less and less fast food. Not to mention, Taco Bell was dominating the Tex-Mex QSR playing field. But, we did find there was a significant drop off of Taco Bell guests at around 23 years of age—even though they were still consuming fast food. We redirected our focus on reaching and persuading millennials who were ‘graduating’ from Taco Bell to come try Taco Bueno. Thanks, Taco Bell.

Next, we had to figure out how to grab the attention of said millennials. We decided to remind them of “Taco Hell”. Guests of other Tex-Mex fast food joints, like Taco Bell, know the feeling all too well: they enjoy the food, but they’re quickly greeted with an upset stomach, resulting in an instant moment of remorse.  

On the other side of the coin, we knew Taco Bueno’s food satisfied cravings, and left consumers feeling great because it wasn't poured out of a plastic bag, it was made with fresh ingredients. This insight led us to a key message that we knew would connect: real Tex-Mex you can feel good about eating.

Ending Tex-Mex Injustice

To lead the crusade, we created a hero who stood for all things quality. His charge was to put an end to beans made from powder, tacos covered in glowing orange cheese dust, salsa squeezed from packets, and the worst of all, mystery meat.

Taco Intervention

No good friend wants their friends to fall victim to inferior Tex-Mex. So, using breakthrough in-store and online efforts, we asked our loyalists to stage their own Taco Interventions. Our fans were directed to a landing page that encouraged them to stage an intervention for anyone they knew making poor taco decisions. From here, the intervener could send their friends a link to Taco Rehab, resulting in free tacos for both parties.


The Evolution: Avoiding Fakers

Once we liberated consumers from the injustice of bad Tex-Mex, we broadened our mission to show consumers that our food, unlike our competitor’s, was made fresh in real kitchens. We sent our Tex-Mex Ranger back into the field to intervene in situations where our audience was being duped by fakers, and to show them the fresh food prep happening at Taco Bueno.

Fresh Made Promos

We brought our campaigns to life inside Taco Bueno locations by supporting seasonal offerings with point-of-purchase kits. To keep the creative fresh, we concepted eight, unique campaigns throughout the calendar year.  Each kit featured twenty-five pieces of collateral, produced by our in-house production studio, Varnish.