Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. has begun expanding the franchise program for the fast-casual R Taco concept in which it invested in 2014, the company said Wednesday.

The 11-unit R Taco, which in September changed its name from Rusty Taco, has street-style taco locations in Dallas, Denver and Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn. A new location will open in Omaha, Neb., in March, the company said.

Minneapolis-based Buffalo Wild Wings made a majority investment in the then-nine-unit Rusty Taco Inc. in August 2014.

“As we've spent time learning the R Taco business,” said Tom Berzinski, a Buffalo Wild Wings vice president and R Taco managing director, in a statement, “we see an opportunity to grow the company with partners who share our enthusiasm for the brand and want to bring this fresh and fun restaurant to more people in new markets.”

The company said it was focusing its development search in the areas of:
Austin, Houston and San Antonio, Texas; Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Okla.; St. Louis; and Des Moines, Iowa. Buffalo Wild Wings said it was planning to expand its corporate-owned restaurant locations as well.

The concept started in Dallas in 2010 as Rusty Taco and was named for co-founder Rusty Fenton.

Steve Dunn, the other co-founder and now CEO of R Taco, said, “As founder Rusty Fenton always said, ‘Tacos are the most important meal of the day,' and we believe providing guests with the freshest ingredients and authentic tasting street-style tacos at an affordable price in a friendly and fun atmosphere is a concept that works well regardless of geography.”

The company said typical R Taco locations cover 1,800 to 2,500 square feet and are in free-standing buildings, end caps or urban storefronts. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner dayparts as well as craft beers and margaritas.

Buffalo Wild Wings also has a minority investment in Los Angeles-based PizzaRev, a fast-casual pizza chain.

Buffalo Wild Wings has 1,160 casual-dining locations.

Contact Ron Ruggless at ronald.ruggless@penton.com.
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