Carrie Rengers

Franchisee group eyes Wichita for Taco John’s sites

Derby got a Taco John’s in 2018, and Wichita will get one of its own in 2019.
Derby got a Taco John’s in 2018, and Wichita will get one of its own in 2019. Courtesy photo

Derby got a Taco John’s earlier this year, and by this time next year, Wichita should have one, too.

However, it’s a different group that’s looking to expand into Wichita.

Overland Park-based Independence Dining Venture has a Taco John’s under construction in El Dorado and is looking at Wichita next.

“We’re looking all over the greater Wichita area right now,” says COO Dave Powell.

There are almost 400 Taco John’s sites nationally, and Powell says out of all the chain’s franchisees his group is “the fastest-growing franchisee in the country.”

“We picked up seven Taco John’s in the last 90 days.”

El Dorado will be the company’s eighth Taco John’s restaurant. The company is building a new building where it demolished a one-time Ponderosa that later became a Mexican restaurant.

“We’re excited about El Dorado,” Powell says, “and taking something old and kind of an eyesore in the community . . . and replacing it with something new and giving the city a new business.”

He says the restaurant will hire up to 30 people.

Powell says it makes sense for the company to group restaurants.

“It behooves us to have multiple locations,” he says. “That’s why Wichita is such an attractive market for us.”

After the first Wichita Taco John’s, Powell says there are “hopefully several to come.”

The company also has restaurants in Chanute; Independence, Mo.; two in Iowa; two in Minnesota; and one just outside of Boise, Idaho.

In addition to Wichita, Powell says there’s possible interest in Hutchinson and Salina as well.

The chain is headquartered in Wyoming.

Powell says he’s picky about fast food, particularly when it comes to his family.

Taco John’s “has a homemade appeal,” he says.

“Why I got involved with this is because . . . I would want my family to eat the food.”

Taco John’s franchise business consultant Jon Walls introduces the new Taco John’s at the Derby Marketplace, which opened earlier this year. Carrie Rengers/The Wichita Eagle/Feb. 12, 2018

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