It is hard to say what draws restaurant chains to Fort Smith. In the past year several chains including Bob Evans, Buffalo Wild Wings and McAlister's Deli have opened restaurants in the River Valley's largest city. Another chain is now getting ready to open a location at 5701 Rogers Avenue in the early part of 2013. The chain in question is Taco Bueno.
Taco Bueno opened its first store in 1967 in the city of Abilene, Texas. Over the years the chain grew to include franchise locations in seven states. So how did they do it? Like many of the Mexican restaurant franchises, Taco Bueno offered great food at reasonable prices. The chain grew in popularity and developed several well known promotional symbols (most notably the Bueno Bubble, a hand with a cartoon face painted on it that espoused the menu items that Taco Bueno offered). In 2005 Taco Bueno entered a new frontier of business by opening its first franchise location. This decision helped Taco Bueno expand into several new markets including the upcoming Fort Smith location.
Taco Bueno partners with several franchisees including the US Beef Corp. The US Beef Corp is best known for being the corporate owner of the very popular Arby's chain. However they have also been responsible for operating several Taco Bueno restaurants in Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma. Currently, the closest Taco Bueno restaurants are located in Fayetteville and Muskogee. In March, the US Beef Corp will open its Fort Smith location marking its entrance into River Valley. The US Beef Corp was unavailable to comment on the restaurant's opening as well as any future locations that the franchise may want to open.
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