A few months ago, we announced that our flagship Hillsborough location would be replaced with a brand new, state-of-the-art restaurant featuring self-ordering kiosks, a convenient drive-thru, and other new amenities. Based on our growth plans, we have decided to permanently close our St. Pete location on September 27th, 2017. But worry not, we will be opening our new Treasure Island location in the near future. We believe that this new store will better serve our customers and provide everything we need as we expand our menu and our service offerings. In the future, we will also be opening another location in downtown St Pete.
Change and growth are not something new for Taco Bus. We began as a mobile restaurant concept in 1995, long before it was cool, fashionable or even common to have a restaurant on wheels. Chef René Valenzuela brought the original Taco Bus offering no-frills Mexican street food to the city of Tampa. Nearly a decade later, René opened the first brick and mortar Taco Bus – located on Hillsborough Avenue where he continued to sell Tacos from the now permanently parked bus. It was a big change, but it was necessary to satisfy the demands of our loyal customers and fans.
Taco Bus has since opened eight locations and continues to provide food trucks to private events and festivals around the Tampa Bay area. While Taco Bus started as a single bus, our vision has always been to grow, to expand, and to offer our customers the best experience possible while doing so. Our newest location, Taco Bus Lutz, is planning to open late September of 2017.
We have many good memories from the many years we have served you at our Hillsborough and St. Petersburg locations and take pride in the charm and delight they have provided to our customers over the years. We hope to see you all at our new locations as we will continue to find new ways to “keep it chido.” We are here to listen and discuss any concerns or questions you may have about upcoming changes or any feedback you may have on areas in which we may improve.
For more than 20 years, Bay Area residents have come to count on Taco Bus to “keep it chido” by offering fresh and healthy street tacos and Mexican food. In our constant efforts to improve, we’ve made many changes over the past twenty years, some of which we have not fully communicated. We now realize that by not communicating with you, we have let several myths develop. Over the next few weeks, we will be dispelling some of these myths in our blog as well as sharing exciting new developments here at Taco Bus.
However, before we do this, we must also recognize that some of you at one time may have experienced less than our best when it comes to service and quality at one of our locations. For this, we must apologize; it has never been our intent to disappoint. We regret that we may have provided some of you with bad service or a poor customer experience—it is the exact opposite of what we pride ourselves on. We value our customers and understand how important it is to offer exceptional service. We’d like to share some of the ways we are addressing your concerns.
Since we have grown so much from our roots as a popular “food truck,” we want to ensure a consistent level of service and food quality. To that end, we have hired two new professionals to our team. First, all of our staff will be retrained by a professional trainer who will also work to ensure our procedures are consistent across locations and that staff provide the best customer service in the business. Second, we have hired a quality manager who will be in charge of food quality as well as restaurant conditions. We recognize that you have many options when selecting a restaurant and want to make sure that Taco Bus is always at the top of your list.
We currently employ more than 200 people in the Tampa Bay area, and we will be adding even more locations and jobs over the next few months. In addition to our new locations, we are making some changes to our existing locations. We recently announced a $2 million-dollar investment into our Hillsborough location. These plans have been in the works for many months as our leadership team, architects, interior designers, lawyers, and accountants have worked hard to make our vision a reality. We are currently in the permitting process and hope to show off our new state-of-the-art modern restaurant soon. The new Hillsborough location will maintain some of the legacy of the original while providing new amenities such as a drive-thru window.
We hope that those who have been on the Bus since the very beginning will continue the ride and help us improve by letting us know when we deserve praise, but also when we fall short.
Thank you for your loyalty!