Taft announces exit from Fiesta, triggering a strategic review

taco cabana exterior

The parent of Taco Cabana and Pollo Tropical says it will reconsider the company’s strategic direction after learning of Tim Taft’s plan to retire at year’s end from his posts as CEO and president.

In particular, said Fiesta Restaurant Group, the board will re-evaluate a previously announced plan to spin off Taco Cabana as a freestanding business. It noted that the relatively low tax base of the fast-casual chain makes it a good candidate for a divestiture, but expressed newfound reservations, citing changes in the marketplace.

Valuations of restaurant companies have been declining because of a sudden drop in traffic and sales

In addition to his corporate duties, Taft has functioned as CEO and president of both Taco Cabana and its Caribbean sister, Pollo Tropical. Both brands specialize in fast food with a Latin flare.

He will also relinquish his seat on Fiesta’s board when he retires, the company noted.

Taft has a lengthy resume of chain-restaurant jobs, including top posts at Pizza Inn, Whataburger, Grandy’s and Souper Salad. He started his career as a pot washer at Bern’s Steak House, the landmark fine-dining restaurant in Tampa, Fla.

He came out of his first retirement to assume responsibility for Taco Cabana and Pollo Tropical as they were about to be spun off from Carrols Corp., the largest franchisee of Burger King.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


Restaurants can learn some foodservice tricks from supermarkets

State of the Plate: Nancy Kruse, RB’s menu trends columnist, says grocers are stepping up their game, and restaurants need to keep up.


So you are opening a restaurant in a Walmart? Good luck with that

The Bottom Line: The retail giant is adding regional restaurant chains to its stores, giving them some key exposure. But there are some real drawbacks to pay attention to.


The FTC signals a tougher stance on franchising, for now

The Bottom Line: The agency’s comments last week represented some of its toughest regulatory moves on franchising in years. But the election might have a say in it.


More from our partners