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TaKorean Begins Franchising After Over a Decade in Business

The Korean taco grill concept is new to the franchise world, but it’s been providing fresh, colorful flavors to the DC food scene for over 10 years.

By Morgan Wood1851 Franchise Contributor
SPONSOREDUpdated 12:12PM 07/14/22

After over a decade in business, TaKorean, the Korean taco grill concept that incorporates Latin-American twists, has decided to continue expansion via franchising. Established as a food truck in 2010, the brand has survived the transition from mobile vending to a brick-and-mortar model and the COVID-19 pandemic. It has established a name for itself in the DC area and aims to expand to other states.

When founder Mike Lenard first opened his business, he had long thought of establishing some form of mobile vending but hadn’t fully developed his business plan. After bidding on a food truck on eBay, thinking he wouldn’t win, he ended up with just the push he needed.

“I started bidding on this food truck, not really thinking I would win it. I had this thing in the back of my head like, ‘Oh, maybe I’ll do a food truck or something,’ and I remember sitting there, and all of a sudden I had won it,” Lenard explained. “I did a lot of research on what I thought was lacking in the DC and East Coast food scenes. They were doing Korean tacos in LA, and I thought that was really interesting, so I started researching and testing recipes.”

It can be difficult to find colorful, fresh, everyday foods that still feel exciting to the diner, and TaKorean boasts its bold flavors as a solid solution.

“There’s not much like us,” Lenard said. “There have been some Korean bowl concepts that also serve tacos but fall a little flat.”

As the Brand Takes on Franchising, It Sets Itself Apart With Strong Company Culture and Streamlined Operations

Many unique food concepts come to require a level of specialty training and/or equipment that can quickly grow to be incredibly expensive for its owners. TaKorean, on the other hand, has been built on a model of passion for people and food, with all of its processes developed in a way that allows anyone committed to success to win.

Lenard did not have classical culinary training when he began this venture. While incorporating Korean flavors and fun twists on his dishes, he has maintained an approach that does not have to be intimidating to those with less established culinary backgrounds.

With a relatively low number of items on the restaurant’s inventory, it focuses on creating the best of the best flavors in simple, straightforward ways. It empowers its customers to build their meals to their exact liking, offering bowls, slaw bowls and tacos in the build-your-own format.

These approaches save operators time and money that could be spent on managing complex operational flows and allow them to focus on maintaining the company and restaurant culture ingrained in TaKorean’s existing locations and core leadership team.

As TaKorean Expands, Quality Remains a Priority

Though the TaKorean team is excited to expand, welcoming passionate franchisees to the team and bringing its bold flavors to more communities, high-quality products and service remains the top priority.

Because of this, the core leadership team has not set explicit growth goals regarding a certain number of new restaurants open in a given time frame. Instead, they are directing their focus to working with people who can embody the brand and bring the same level of passion to their work.

“If we could sell 100 franchises tomorrow, we wouldn't want to do that because, for us, we want to award them, we want to open them, and we want to set them up for success,” Lenard explained. “The reality is that 100 that do horribly is never worth as much as five or 10 that can become an incredible foundation for a bigger business.”