It shouldn't come as any surprise that this company thinks its tacos are pretty good. Taco Bueno Restaurants operates and franchises about 190 quick-service Mexican eateries in Texas, Oklahoma, and seven other states. The restaurants offer standard fast-food Mexican fare, such as burritos, quesadillas, and tacos; its menu also features such favorites as Mucho Nachos, salads, and a pita sandwich called the Muchaco. Bill Waugh, founder of the Casa Bonita chain, opened the first Taco Bueno in 1967. The company is owned by New York-based private equity firm Palladium Equity Partners.
Taco Bueno's history and strong regional affiliation has created a loyal following in its core Texas markets that helps the chain compete with such national brands as Taco Bell (part of YUM! Brands) and Chipotle Mexican Grill. With funding from its private equity parent, the company has ramped up its franchising efforts to expand into far away territories in the Midwest and Southeast, though it plans to remain largely a regional chain. John C. Miller, who had been CEO since 2005, left for Denny's in early 2011.
Palladium Equity acquired the chain from Jacobson Partners in 2005. Previously, Taco Bueno had been part of CKE Restaurants, the operator of the Carl's Jr. and Hardee's hamburger chains.