How One Restaurant has Refocused Amid COVID-19
Owner: Miguel Tomasio
Taco Loco, located in the Black Rock neighborhood in Bridgeport, is a restaurant featuring indoor and outdoor dining, take out, catering and food trucks catering through the Taco Loco Party Truck and Loco Catering group. Owner Miguel Tomasio has been in the restaurant business for 38 years.
Miguel began working with CTSBDC advisor Nelson Merchan about four years ago. At the time his family-owned business featured the restaurant, catering, take out and 2 food trucks.
Initially, he worked with the CTSBDC on his application for a grant with the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development to build out the business’s third food truck and newer business concept – Loco Catering Group, to modernize his dining areas, and to enhance his marketing capabilities through technology systems. His decision to expand his catering business has paid off as the catering component of the business has surpassed 50% of his total business.
However, the COVID pandemic has forced Miguel to alter his business plan once again. “Our main concern was the health and safety of our employees and customers,” Miguel explained. Deciding to completely close his business for 6 weeks as the state began to prepare itself with social distancing measures, Miguel and his family reopened their business for curbside pickup at the end of April.
During that time Miguel began working with Nelson to apply for the PPP loan. The loan has allowed him to rehire 9 of his former staff of 20. As many restaurants have experienced, curbside-only service has reduced the need to operate with a full complement of staff. Additionally, Miguel decided to invest in a new POS system to streamline orders and reduce customer wait time.
Speaking with Miguel three days after his reopening, the new POS was working well. “We had a great first weekend,” Miguel shared. As he prepared for his first Cinco de Mayo take-out style, they had received 51 dinner orders before 11:00 am. Reflecting his enthusiasm, Miguel described his celebratory menu, complete with margarita kits. “No matter what, today is Cinco de Mayo, and we still have to celebrate.”
Looking ahead to see how his business can reopen for its traditionally busy warm weather season, Miguel has been preparing plans to accommodate for service in a reduced capacity.
Quote from advisor: “Miguel and his family are the portrait of a business run with love and vision. They treat their staff well and they value the relationship with their customers and their community. They are always thinking of ways to deliver a more enjoyable experience.”
Milestones: Received federal and state funding opportunities | Pivoted to online ordering and carry-out business onlyGo Back