Rusty Taco is changing its name to R Taco to broaden its appeal as it plans expansion, the Dallas-based company said Tuesday.
The nine-unit fast-casual chain, which drew a majority investment in August 2014 from Minneapolis-based Buffalo Wild Wings, has also streamlined the brand’s logo.
“As we grow the business and expand beyond its Dallas roots, we wanted to ensure the concept name had broader appeal while still linking to the brand’s heritage,” Steve Dunn, co-founder and CEO of R Taco, said in a statement.
“Shortening the name to ‘R Taco’ still provides a link to co-founder Rusty Fenton’s legacy, while the phonetic play on ‘R’ sounding like ‘our’ is friendly and welcoming, like the spirit of the brand,” said Dunn, who opened the first taco restaurant with Fenton in 2010. Russell “Rusty” Fenton died in June 2013, after a three-year battle with kidney cancer.
R Taco specializes in street-style tacos in a casual, counter-order atmosphere.
The company has five restaurants in Dallas, one unit in Denver and three locations in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.
The company said the new R Taco logo is an evolution of the original Rusty Taco branding, retaining such aspects as the yellow and black colors and cursive font. It also includes a semi-concealed taco image inside the R.
Besides its majority stake in R Taco, Buffalo Wild Wings, the 1,120-unit casual-dining operator, has a minority investment in Los Angeles-based PizzaRev, a fast-casual pizza chain.
Kathy Benning, Buffalo Wild Wings executive vice president and chief strategy officer, who oversees new business development, said at the time of the R Taco investment that it was “part of our strategy to partner with emerging restaurant concepts that have the potential for significant growth, can work throughout the country and have a highly engaged management team with a passion to grow the business.”
Dunn said earlier this year that R Taco is looking for expansion markets, using Buffalo Wild Wings’ expertise and research to decide “where we will go and grow.”
The original R Taco restaurant, in a converted Dallas gas station, was 1,900 square feet. Dunn said subsequent units have been in the range of 2,200 square feet to 2,500 square feet, with inside seating for 70 to 100 customers.
Of the nine locations, three locations are company-owned and six units are franchised.
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