Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a Placer.ai account? Log In

Three Taco Chains to Watch in 2024

by 
Lila Margalit
 on 
January 30, 2024
Three Taco Chains to Watch in 2024

Hot on the heels of the burrito’s emergence as America’s favorite dish in 2022 – edging out even the iconic cheeseburger – spicy potato tacos rocked Grubhub’s list of 2023’s top five spicy food orders. 

So with the new year upon us, we dove into the data to check in with three steadily-expanding taco chains that are likely to continue making waves this year: Bartaco, Condado Tacos, and El Vaquero. Each of the three chains fills a somewhat different niche, and each of them is growing – showing that despite the challenges facing the restaurant industry, there’s a hot market for taco chains that hit the sweet spot with the right food and ambiance.

Bartaco and Condado Tacos on the Rise

Bartaco, the upscale eatery known for its beach-like vibe, specialty cocktails, and eclectic street food menu, is a taco restaurant with a twist. The diverse menu includes everything from falafel tacos to glazed pork belly rice bowls. And while guac and chips are on offer, hungry diners can also indulge in kale caesar salad or Korean-style kimchi. Over the past several years, Bartaco has expanded its fleet – and the restaurant now boasts some 29 locations across 12 states (and Washington, D.C).

Condado Tacos is another popular restaurant that has grown its footprint in recent years. The “come as you are” casual-dining chain known for its funky art decor now features some 49 locations across 10 states – 20 of them in Ohio. And with plans to open 90-100 restaurants by 2026, the chain is on a roll. Customers can build their own tacos with fillings like Thai Chili Tofu or Tequila-Lime Steak, or choose one of the menu’s tempting suggestions. And like Bartaco, Condado Tacos offers a variety of cocktails – including seasonal choices like the Harvest Pear Marg.

And location intelligence shows that the expansion of both chains is meeting growing demand. Visits to Bartaco and Condado Tacos have risen steadily over the past two years, reaching a respective 52.2% and 52.9% growth in Q4 2023 relative to Q1 2022.

El Vaquero: A Cinco de Mayo Fav

Ohio is also home to El Vaquero – a Mexican chain with 18 locations in the Buckeye State and two more in Michigan. El Vaquero, which has also expanded over the past several years, saw foot traffic rise 4.8% in Q4 2023 compared to the equivalent period of 2022. And with a menu that includes everything from nachos to huevos con chorizo, it’s no wonder the chain has emerged as a local favorite.

Like Bartaco and Condado Tacos, El Vaquero has a rich cocktail menu, as well as a varied selection of wines and beers. And while the chain’s offerings certainly draw crowds throughout the year, El Vaquero really goes crazy on Cinco de Mayo, the May 5th commemoration of Mexico's victory over Napoleon in 1862. El Vaquero marks the occasion with a five-day special menu and an all-day happy hour on Cinco de Mayo itself. And on May 5th, 2023, El Vaquero experienced its busiest day of the year by far, drawing a remarkable 200.2% more visitors than it did, on average, during April and May 2023.

Singles and Tacos for Dinner

Drilling down into the data for Bartaco, Condado Tacos, and El Vaquero shows that despite their differences, the three chains experience similar hourly visitation patterns. All three are busiest in the evenings – but while El Vaquero and Condado Tacos peak between 6:00 PM and 8:00 PM, Bartaco peaks somewhat later, between 7:00 PM and 9:00 PM. Bartaco also stays busier into the 9:00 PM – 10:00 PM time slot.

Bartaco’s, Condado Tacos’, and El Vaquero’s evening draw may be due, in part, to the special appeal they hold for singles: The captured markets of all three chains feature significant shares of one-person households – and in the case of Bartaco and Condado Tacos, smaller concentrations of families with children. (For El Vaquero, the proportion of households with children is on par with that of single-person households). Of the three, the more upscale Bartaco boasts the highest share of single-person households – and the lowest share of parental ones – perhaps explaining its later visit peak and greater late-night engagement.

Key Takeaways

Mexican food has arisen as a preferred cuisine for many consumers. And even in today’s challenging economic environment, brands that can offer a winning combination of good food, nice cocktails, and a welcoming atmosphere are poised to thrive. How will Bartaco, Condado Tacos, and El Vaquero continue to fare in the new year? And what lies in store for the wider taco restaurant space in the months to come?

Follow Placer.ai’s data-driven dining analyses to find out. 

Get 3 brand & industry
breakdowns every week

Subscribe to the newsletter

Great! Prepare your inbox for data-driven insights...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get a Demo

Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please provide a valid email
Please enter your email
Please enter company name

Thanks for reaching out!

One of our experts will be in touch soon

Try Placer.ai Free
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Text Link
Bartaco
Text Link
Condado Tacos
Text Link
El Vaquero
Digging Into Darden: Q2 2024 Update
2024 Retail and Dining Trends Update
TRU and avid: Midscale Hotels on the Rise 
Diving Into Kroger: A Strong Start to 2024
Placer.ai Mall Index: May 2024 Recap – Mall Visits on the Rebound
Placer.ai Office Index: May 2024 Recap
2024 Memorial Day Recap
Las Vegas: A Tourism and Migration Deep Dive
Eatertainment Chains: Full on Food, Fun, and Foot Traffic
The Promise of Luxury Apparel
Catching Up With Ulta Beauty & Gap Brands
Ollie’s Bargain Outlet and Five Below: Q1 2024 Treasure Troves
CAVA Still Going Strong
Driving Success: Auto Parts Chains in 2024
Checking in With DICK’S Sporting Goods
Mother’s Day Shopping and Dining Trends
Placer.ai Mall Index: April 2024 Recap – Retail Resilience Heading into Spring
Dollar Stores Still Gaining Momentum
Off-Price Apparel Chains After Q1 2024: Demographics in the Balance
Walmart, Target, and Wholesale Clubs Continue to Thrive
Home Improvement and Decor Check In
Placer.ai Office Index: April 2024 Recap – Recovery Continues
Movie Theaters in Q1 2024: A Preview of Coming Attractions?
Let’s Get Physical: Fitness In 2024
Where Are Workers Returning to Office in 2024?
2024 Wins: Sweetgreen & First Watch on the Rise
A Full-Service Turnaround: Bloomin’, Dine, and Texas Roadhouse
Wendy’s and Denny’s: Breakfast and Late Night Dining Drives Success
Coffee Chains: Q1 2024 Update and What’s Changed Since COVID
Checking in with RBI and YUM!
Chipotle & McDonald's Serving Up Success
Wingstop & Shake Shack Continue Growing Their Reach 
Strong Start for Sprouts in 2024
Crocs’ Footwear Fairytale
Who Attends NCAA Final Four Events?
Eclipse Fever: How Did the (Retail and Hospitality) Stars Align?
Exploring Albertsons Companies’ Grocery Growth
Placer.ai Mall Index: March 2024 Recap – Malls Rise Again
Placer.ai Office Index: March 2024 Recap
Florida Spring Break Break-Up? Travelers Still Love Florida!
Provo-Orem and Ogden-Clearfield Emerging As Utah Hotspots 
Three Formulas for Experiential Retail in 2024
Aldi & Lidl Making The Cut
Texas Suburbs on the Rise
Exploring Luxury Hotel Brands’ Guest Segmentation
The St. Patrick’s Day Effect
How Can JOANN Make a Comeback?
Panera Bread Well Positioned for Possible IPO
Who Will Benefit From Family Dollar’s Downsizing?
Dave & Buster’s and Main Event Entertainment: Food and Fun for Everyone
Darden Brands: Location Analytics and Consumer Behavior
Nike and lululemon: a Strong 2023, Sprinting into 2024
Where Is Retail and Dining Foot Traffic Thriving in Early 2024?
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – February 2024
Three Retail & Dining Chains That May Surprise in 2024
Specialty Discount Chains Rock Retail Therapy
Placer.ai Mall Index: February 2024
Placer.ai Office Index: February 2024 Recap
Ulta Beauty Continues To Shine
First Watch Sails Into 2024
Hibbett Sports and DICK’S Sporting Goods: A Psychographic Analysis
Checking in With Discount & Dollar Stores
Peeking Behind The Curtain: Movie Theaters in 2023 and Beyond
Diving Into Brick-and-Mortar Eyewear
Getting Into Gear: Exploring The Auto Part Industry
Recapping Valentine’s Day 2024 Foot Traffic Trends
Fitness: A Strong Start to 2024
Dutch Bros. Continues To Percolate Visits
Super Bowl 2024: Placer.ai’s Postgame Foot Traffic Analysis
CAVA & sweetgreen Are On the Rise
Hats Off For Off-Price
Who Is Shopping at Malls?
Drilling Down Into Home Improvement
Walmart, Target, Costco & Superstore Space 2023 Recap
Catching Up With Shake Shack and Wingstop
Something To Chew On: Demographic Shifts at Steakhouse Chains
Placer.ai Office Index: Looking Back at 2023
Recapping RBI & Yum! Brands’ 2023 Foot Traffic Performance
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – January 2024
Who Shops at Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters?
Three Taco Chains to Watch in 2024
Starbucks and Dunkin’: 2023 in Four Data Points
Who Visits CVS and Walgreens?
Fashionably Frugal: Apparel in 2023
Catching Up With Fast Food
The Grocery Sector in 2023: An End-of-Year Recap
3 Mall & Shopping Center Trends for 2024
Bakery Chains Rising To The Top
Placer.ai and Esri Partner to Deliver Geospatial Analytics
Tampa Tourism Trends
Going For The Green: The Changing Dynamics Of Country Clubs
Christmas Day Dining Recap
Major Urban Shopping Districts – Holiday Season Recap
Placer.ai Office Index: December 2023 Recap
Recapping the 2023 Holiday Shopping Season
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – December 2023
7 Retail & Dining Segments to Watch in 2024
Diving Into Holiday Season Favorites
Super Saturday and Christmas Eve Eve: A Winning Combination
3 Budget Grocery Chains Finishing 2023 On a High Note