NWI Business Ins and Outs: Furniture store, Domino’s, wellness center, mortgage lender and opioid recover center opening; Taco John’s coming? | Northwest Indiana Business Headlines

Could Taco John’s double-decker tacos be coming to Northwest Indiana, or at least Southwest Michigan?

Meritage Hospitality Group, a Grand Rapids, Michigan-based restaurant development chain that owns several Wendy’s in the Region, signed an area development agreement to build Taco John’s in the United States.

The company, which owns Wendy’s restaurants in Merrillville, Portage, Chesterton, Valparaiso and LaPorte, reached a deal to build 50 Taco John’s by 2026 with an option to develop 150 restaurants. Meritage Hospitality Group plans to invest at least $100 million in building Taco John’s now that it has exclusive development rights in several states.

“We are excited about this new partnership with Taco John’s and look forward to launching development in our home market of west Michigan with new store openings beginning in 2022. We were initially attracted to the brand by the made-to-order quality food, drive-thru service and significant new development opportunities, all of which align with our core competencies. Our first Taco John’s restaurant visit confirmed we would be excited to serve the food, including their delicious breakfast burritos and signature Potato Ole’s, and knew this brand represented our core value of ‘we love what we do,'” President and CEO Gary Rose said.

Taco John’s was established 52 years ago in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The Mexican fast food restaurant has about 400 restaurants that serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The development deal with Meritage Hospitality Group is the largest in Taco John’s history. Meritage operates 345 restaurants in 16 states, including Indiana and Michigan. It employs 11,500 people at Wendy’s, Morning Belle, Stan’s Tacos, Twisted Rooster and Freighters eateries. It expects to hire about 1,250 more workers at its initial Taco John’s restaurants.

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