Right before we decided to move from Katy, Dave got so excited because our area was getting a Torchy’s Tacos. I had never heard about this restaurant, but realized how popular it must be when I saw a long line every time I passed. I was lucky enough to try out Torchy’s Tacos and have to admit the food was AMAZING!!!
The background story on this Austin born business is pretty cool (the owner started out as a food truck restaurant). The menu is very cool with tacos named the trailer park, the democrat, and the wrangler. I had the “Mr. Pink” that contained guajillo, seared Ahi tuna, cabbage fresca, cilantro, and queso fresco with a wedge of lime, served with chipotle sauce on a corn tortilla. It was DELICIOUS!
Fast forward a few weeks ago and on a Sunday morning Dave said he wanted to take the girls and I to a restaurant called Texas Taco Co. that had AWESOME tacos, just as good as Torchy’s. It was a bit of a drive from our house and we were both very surprised when we pulled up, there was a sign on the front door saying the business was closed. We shrugged and found another place to eat.
I know many of you are thinking, ok, what is the point of the story. A few days ago Dave sent me an interesting article that explained why Texas Taco Co (three stores in all) closed all of a sudden. Basically Torchy’s continued to hear from some of its customers that they had eaten the same delicious tacos that Torchy’s served at a place called Texas Taco Co. Most of these customers assumed the two eateries were related. Torchy’s owner started to investigate and soon found out that a former employee stole the “Taco Bible”. The taco bible was a proprietary start-to-finish food guide for all Torchy’s menu items and in order to work at Torchy’s employees had to sign an agreement to never disclose the inner workings/recipes of Torchy’s Tacos. The employee was fired and conveniently started working for a different company called Texas Taco Co. The menu items appeared to be identical with a few name changes here and there.
The story sounds out like a soap opera. The supposed taco bible thief confessed to a co-worker and agreed to meet in an Exxon parking lot to return the book. After a suit was brought against Texas Taco Co, the disgraced employee stood by his testimony that he just happened to find a job a Texas Taco Co and is willing to drive 40 miles each way from his home to earn $10.00 an hour. Nobody’s buying it.
So here is the quandary. Torchy’s Tacos clearly tells you exactly what is in each of their tacos. Does this make them the “sole owners” of the dishes, or are other eateries allowed to mix the same ingredients?
Food/recipe “proprietary”/ patents are very interesting. We in Houston love a Tex-Mex restaurant called Lupe Tortilla that serves the BEST beef fajitas in the world. Christa once went on a few dates with a chef from that particular eatery and he told her the recipe is so top secret that it will never be able to get out.
Do you remember in 2006 Pepsi received a letter from a Coca Cola employee who wanted to sell the Coca Cola recipe to its rival? Pepsi was smart enough to alert Coca Cola immediately and three people were arrested and tried in FEDERAL COURT! That is how serious patents and recipes are!
So my question for everyone, who do you think will win the “Taco War”, Torchy’s or Texas Taco Co? Also, have you ever created something and had it stolen?