Velvet Taco places #18 on a list of 75 brands dubbed Movers & Shakers: Innovative restaurant brands and executives shaping the fast casual segment.
Since its inception in 2011, Velvet Taco, which has over 30 locations, has been offering over 20 taco varieties, as well as creative sides. The result is a new food category featuring a range of diverse and international tacos such as the Cuban Pig, the Fried Paneer, the Spicy Tikka Chicken and the Fish n’ Chips tacos.
In addition to its food, the brand has a strong focus on digital techniques that make operators’ jobs more efficient. Over the past year, for example, many of the stores maximized their space with dedicated windows to offer contactless pick-up methods for digital pre-orders made through the Velvet Taco app and website. As a result, off-premise sales are nearly double what they were in 2019, accounting for over 50% of overall sales To handle those increases, Velvet Taco reconfigured its kitchen into separate production lines, with one line dedicated to delivery and takeout orders. The company also overhauled some of its food preparation processes to cut average ticket times by more than half, raising sales by 15% in restaurants that have implemented the new processes.
The company believes that along with its loyalty program, its advancements in digital ordering will help entice guests to order directly, rather than from third-party delivery channels, which have been problematic for restaurants since the onset of the pandemic. CEO Clay Dover predicted that growth in direct ordering versus third-party would mean hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings from commission fees.
“Our relentless innovation with our menu, our chef-crafted tacos and the unique atmosphere we’ve created in our restaurants have set us apart from others in the fast-casual space,” he said. “You can go anywhere and get a taco, but you can’t go anywhere to get the Velvet Taco vibe and philosophy.”