Fast-casual chain Fuzzy’s Taco Shop is launching a small-footprint taqueria concept, the company announced Tuesday.
Fuzzy’s Taco Shop Taqueria, which is slated to open next month in Minneapolis, will be less than half the size of a typical Fuzzy’s Taco Shop and will be focused on off-premise business.
The new taco concept will have an abbreviated menu, featuring Fuzzy’s most popular items such as queso, guacamole, Baja tacos, breakfast tacos, burritos, nachos, quesadillas and salads. Margaritas and beer will be available at all Taqueria locations, with the option to take them to-go in markets where that is legal.
“The most important factor with this new opportunity was maintaining the Fuzzy’s experience while keeping true to ourselves and what has earned us our cult-like following over the years,” Fuzzy’s President Mel Knight said in a statement. “This new footprint will offer more flexibility and we are looking forward to expanding the Fuzzy’s Taqueria brand.”
Fuzzy’s was founded in 2003 in Fort Worth, Texas, and is known for its menu of Baja-inspired Mexican dishes. It currently has almost 150 locations in 16 states.
Traditional Fuzzy’s locations are between 3,000- to 4,000-square-feet. The new Taqueria concept will fit in 1,200- to 1,800-square-foot spaces. The new concept was a way of allowing franchisees to get into available real estate during the pandemic, Fuzzy’s COO and CFO Jessica Wescott said in a statement.
“As real estate opportunities became available over the last year, we realized we didn’t want to limit our franchisees to the traditional Fuzzy’s model with larger square footage requirements,” Wescott said. “At the same time, we understood from a consumer perspective this new footprint needed to be branded differently.”
The Minneapolis Taqueria location will be just 1,100-square-feet.
The pandemic has spurred many chains to develop reduced-footprint prototypes geared toward takeout and delivery business, with some restaurants adding drive-thrus or rolling out designs that do not include dining rooms.