Friday, March 2, 2018

[NEWSFLASH] Taco Mac Has Been Sold

This week, Taco Mac was sold by Dallas-based private equity firm CIC Partners to a team of independent investors and experienced restaurateurs led by Atlanta resident and longtime Taco Mac guest Harold Martin, Jr. 
Harold Martin, Jr. will lead the company as CEO. The company headquarters will remain in Atlanta, where Taco Mac was founded in 1979.     The new ownership team is comprised of Martin and three of his partners from Fresh Hospitality, a Nashville-based restaurant incubator currently consisting of eighteen concepts.  Of the group's many concepts, only a few are open or coming soon to the Atlanta Atlanta market such as Biscuit Love (coming to Alpharetta), Taziki's Mediterranean Cafe and I Love Juice Bar.  Taco Mac will not be a Fresh Hospitality concept. 

The four partners – Martin, Michael Bodnar, John Michael Bodnar and Mike Tidwell – are investing their own money in Taco Mac "because they believe in the brand’s Atlanta heritage and reputation for serving great local craft beers and award-winning wings in a warm, welcoming environment."    

A graduate of Morehouse College, Martin has lived in Atlanta since 1998. Last June, Martin was appointed interim President of Morehouse College.  He was previously an associate partner with McKinsey & Co., a management consulting firm. After leaving McKinsey & Co., Martin  built a successful independent consulting practice and private investment firm in Atlanta.  In addition to receiving a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Morehouse, Martin received an MBA from Harvard Business School and a law degree from Yale Law School.

Martin will work closely with Michael Bodnar, who brings 45 years of experience running public and private companies.  Martin and his co-owners plan to spend the first few months of their ownership on a listening tour, gaining feedback from guests and employees to continue to improve the Taco Mac experience in each neighborhood. The team also plans to continue investing in the popular Brewniversity program.  

“Customer engagement is something we are aiming to enhance because we want guests to truly identify with their neighborhood Taco Mac,” he says. “We will work with staff to ensure that the quality of the dining experience remains consistent across the board while retaining the unique character of each neighborhood restaurant.”   

Taco Mac has gone through a number of changes in recent years including a short-lived name change to "T. Mac."  More recently, Bob Campbell, former CEO of Taco Mac parent company Tappan Street Restaurant Group, with a few other former Taco Mac associates, launched a  BBQ themed sports-bar: Loyal Q.  The first Loyal Q opened in East Cobb last year followed by a second location in Alpharetta last month. 

In January, two former Taco Mac restaurants were "deflagged" and reopened as Morgan's Sports Grill in Marietta and Woodstock.  

The first Taco Mac, which is still open to this day, opened at 1006 North Highland Avenue in Virginia Highland in 1979.  Taco Mac currently has 27 locations across Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. 

Are you excited at the prospect of having new, more hands-on owners at the helm of Taco Mac?  What is your favorite sports bar in metro Atlanta?  Has Taco Mac become too "corporate?"

Please share your thoughts below.  

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Taco Mac is awful. Especially the one in Cumberland. I don't get it.

CloseITP said...

It's funny, the first commenter says Cumberland is awful. I came here to say that Cumberland is so much better than Lindbergh. Which goes to show, if I like Cumberland and don't like Lindberg. And the previous poster doesn't like Cumberland, there are consistency issues. Let's hope the new ownership group sees that while they purchased a popular asset, that the asset does need work. I consider Taco Mac an Atlanta institution. Hopefully it'll continue to be so.

Anonymous said...

It used to be really good. Then it went really bad. Then it went really good. Then it went really T.Mac (Huh!?! That's what happens when financial guys says 'we'll take it national, we know what we're doing!'). Then it went good. Last two times it was good, but the Dunwoody/SS (whatever that is there) fell out of the rotation for a while. Good to hear that MAYBE they are focusing on quality and not franchise expansion because as food-consumer, when was the last time a restaurant improved when it expanded? Uh, maybe Vintage Pizza but it took a couple of months for the Dunwoody location to get the kinks out, which it still is kinda doing.

Brian Booker said...

Their food and service are the worst.

Jeff Hagadone said...

Anonymous above. You are out of your mind. Taco Mac is not awful. It needs some help on the food side of things but, awful is a huge stretch. Any place that puts such a huge emphasis on craft beer can't "awful". Slow down on the exaggeration.

Anonymous said...

Crabapple seems to have a new manager every month.
Corporate controls the tap selection with little discretion for location management to rep local brews.
Food went downhill when they introduced the square white plates. It’s a sports bar. SMH

Steven Settle said...

My God yes!! This is long overdue!! Hopefully they will bring back several of the “lifers” who were chased off by CIC and their hostile work environment!! I miss the old time employees who loved what they did and performed their jobs well out of respect for their company; not the new folks who “perform”, but out of fear, and are obviously NOT having fun in what they do!!!

Anonymous said...

Very average at best as a restaurant. it is just a beer pub with good wings, average service and nothing much after that.

Anonymous said...

Never heard of these other restaurants so - meh. Guess these corporate umbrella restaurant ownerships are the only way to stay open, but really don't care for chains so another - MEH! Don't eat at Taco Mac but frequent a deflagged TM - Summit's Wayside Tavern.

Anonymous said...

It's always a great atmosphere at Taco Mac. As someone who has worked in hospitality services ranging from sports bar to fine dining I do think there needs to be better training for all staff and higher standards for food and service across the board. There is a common theme of consistency issues...the only thing consistent so far is "taco Mac, eh it's okay I guess."

Unknown said...

We go taco Mac. We often go to the one at lindburge. Service can be slow, but everyone is friendly. The food is good. we love the roasted wings
and the dressings are awsome, but for a sports bar the portions are small. Wings should be orders of 8,12,16 and so on. And the dressing should fill the cup. If you charge me for an additional dressing, fill up that cup. The large selection of beers is great, but the one bartender on duty can never keep up with the demand. Usually a packed bar and everyone else in the restaurant can make for a long wait for beer. We still support you, but just a few chages need to be made.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy Taco mac. What's wrong with having roasted wings, craft beer, and a ton of TVs? And they have the best ranch dressing.

Anonymous said...

I agree T Mac is NOT GOOD. Food bad. Service bad. The name is stupid - Taco Mac(?) ... Why not Fajita Blue Chez? ...

Anonymous said...

I'm still not sure of the difference between Taco Mac, Buffalo Wild Wing, and Wild Wing Cafe. But I'll keep working at it.

Clifford Holzner said...

If you've ever been to a Taco Mac and take the time to flip over the food menu, there's an interesting story behind the name.

Anonymous said...

It was a hostel place to work when Bob Campbell owned it. They had a ton of shady people running it with nothing but double standards. They haven't been able to retain quality managers for over 15 years. They told us that the rumors where wrong, we are not going to sell out. They got rid of all the people that help build the company. Then guess what, they sold out.

David said...

I think taco Mac is a pretty good restaurant and a really great bar. Just a huge selection of beers, friendly and attentive staff and I personally believe great service. Tired of always seeing people who only want to go negative. If you don't l like them, don't go there. I go to the McDonough location and while there will be a wait at times, but that's to be expected at any decent place.

Anonymous said...

I'm kind of excited about this change. I go to Taco Mac quite a bit - mostly the Perimeter location, but have probably been to about 15 of their Atlanta area locations. I have been most disappointed with the service at Prado, which is supposed to be their flagship location. Unless you are sitting at the bar, under the bartenders' noses, you can die waiting for a beer. I think the gripes can be easily fixed and they have a great base concept with the rotating taps, take home glasses on Thursday, excellent wings and a couple other items.

They could certainly stand to tweak the menu a bit. Burger selection is good and sides aren't bad. They removed some of the entrees I used to like and order. They could also dump the tacos. Just because you have a weird name, doesn't mean you need to serve tacos, especially when you do it so badly. They are like mini tacos, they charge about $4 each for them and they are just meh. I like having less wing flavors available and just do the ones you do well. Their ranch is absolutely the best in town.

Here's hoping they bring some new tweaks that improve the concept.

signed a Brewniversity Phd.

Anonymous said...

@Anon on 3/3/18 @ 9:11PM - Google is your friend. It's even on their website: The perfect location was found, but with limited funds remaining, a decision had to be made – renovate the kitchen or change the sign out front? The kitchen won and the Mexican-Irish-sounding name, Taco Mac, remained.

Anonymous said...

There's a difference between saying something is "not good" and saying "I don't like it".

Because you don't like something does not generally make it "not good".

Anonymous said...

I just had dinner at taco mac on Cumberland and I don't understand why people spend money here. I love wings and they were alright. Nothing special. Just average. Service was slow and the bathroom was nasty. Grade = D+

Anonymous said...

Never had a issue with the Taco Mac in Virginia Highland. Usually get take out and if you stick to wings, nachos, and burgers it is fine. Why would you order anything 'fancy' at a place like this? I know they kept changing the menu but sticking to the basics that a place like Taco Mac does well is fine.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they should try the table tablets for self ordering. That would cut down on the attitudes and they would just have runners that run food and drinks to your tables. Possible pick up a dirty plate or two. BTW if your going to have taco mac as your name you should have the best tacos/Mac and cheese in the area. Award winning.

Adam D. said...

I hope it gets better. They're food used to be 10x better than what it is now. I wish the best for them. Taco Mac is kind of a staple. It's nostalgic, so seeing it decline sucks a little.

Anonymous said...

I just had a conversation with someone yesterday about Taco Mac. The bulk of the conversation led to how corporate management did not create a positive working culture amongst management and the employee's.
I knew Fred quite well from frequenting the lindbergh location upon it's grand opening... obviously he did a great job. He never had anything bad to say about corporate but they certainly did badmouth him for accepting a better position. It is all pretty simple... just be good humans and have a heart. It's not all about the money.

Anonymous said...

Lol D+! D- at best!

Dan D said...

The Taco Mac in Midtown needs a deep clean....like a really deep clean.

If you can't be bothered to ever clean your windows I don't have much faith when it comes to your ability to keep the kitchens spotless.

Anonymous said...

Please do something with the PTC location!!!

Rob said...

Wild Wing Cafe is LEAGUES above TM & BWW. The popularity of TM however is quite the mystery to me.

Anonymous said...

@ Rob You need to elevate your palate above lowly wings.

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