What is TaKorean?
TaKorean is a quick-service concept inspired by Korean and Latin street food. Its “build your own” bowl and taco concept allows guests to create memorable meals, catered to their specific preferences by combining the restaurant’s colorful, wholesome, made-fresh ingredients.
The brand was originally founded in 2010 as a mobile vending concept, designed to bring a lighter, fresh twist on Korean flavors to the DC food scene. Over a decade later, the brand has transitioned to brick-and-mortar restaurants and is looking to expand as it continues to bring new, exciting flavors and a stellar customer experience to its diners.
What Makes TaKorean Unique?
The TaKorean system is accessible to just about anyone. It requires no specialized equipment or training to consistently create a variety of delicious foods. Based on a limited inventory of readily available items, the TaKorean model lets guests create a large variety of customized meal options. Simply by switching slaws, or choosing a bowl instead of tacos, guests can enjoy diverse meals or consistently recreate their own favorite combination.
Takorean’s innovative approach to QSR operations has resulted in an optimized operating model that streamlines both food production and daily managerial tasks such as bookkeeping and inventory management. This allows team leaders and staff to give their full attention to maximizing food quality and engaging the guest to create a “memorable customer experience.
Mike Lenard, TaKorean’s founder and CEO, developed the brand as more than just a passion project; he has always intended for it to be an established, innovative business. Though he did not have professional culinary experience, Lenard has worked diligently to develop a concept and tastes that people are excited about and add to an existing food scene. The brand has been built in a way that does not require specialized training or equipment — unlike many other Asian cuisine concepts — and simplifies operations to allow leadership on both corporate and restaurant levels to prioritize strong relationships and quality service.
At this stage in expansion, the core leadership team is interested in growing the brand slowly and strategically, selecting individuals who can partner with the mission and vision. Lenard explained that the key qualities for successful franchise candidates will include a coachable mindset and a passion for people and food. Formal culinary training and/or kitchen experience are desirable, but not required.
In a time when the demand for Asian and Mexican foods is high, and the interest in cultural fusion options is growing among younger crowds, TaKorean provides a culmination of all of these options that is hard to find anywhere else. Mexican and Asian cuisine are the first and second most popular international food categories in the country, respectively, according to Statista.
Further, younger demographics of diners have expressed interest in expanding their experiences with cultural flavors without having to leave their communities. Convenient, innovative fusion cuisine like TaKorean delivers a cross-cultural experience that many consumers seek in a way that remains accessible to many.
Joining the brand at a time when its product is in high demand and it is looking to grow deliberately and successfully will ensure franchisees can enter markets that are excited to have them while maintaining a strong relationship with the brand’s core leadership team.
How Much Does it Cost?
The initial investment required to open a TaKorean restaurant ranges from $215,500-$781,500, including a $40,000 franchise fee. This investment includes access to training and resources, marketing assets and guidance and more, ensuring franchisees receive the supplies and support necessary to begin successful operations on the first day.
TaKorean’s flexible build-out model also allows franchisees to consider second-generation and non-traditional locations, reducing initial build-out costs significantly.