Thursday, March 7, 2024

[ALERT] Failed Franchise Offers A Masterclass in Tacos Done Wrong

A Florida-based taco joint has abruptly closed its two Atlanta area locations as well as multiple locations in its home market.  Capital Tacos, which opened its Atlanta area locations less than a year ago, has now closed both.  The Atlanta restaurants - located in Johns Creek and Peachtree Corners - opened in May and November 2023, respectively.  

To celebrate the two Atlanta area openings the company awarded "free tacos for a year" (one each week) to the first 100 people at the restaurants on opening day.  The abrupt closure has left many with a bad taste in their mouths.  

In Peachtree Corners, Capital Tacos was located in Village at Peachtree Corners (5270 Peachtree Parkway), where the taco joint occupied a 2,400 square foot space near Flying Biscuit Cafe in the Lidl-anchored center.  The Johns Creek location was located in Johns Creek Festival (11160 Medlock Bridge Road) where the taco joint backfilled a 2,145 square foot former Tin Drum Asian Kitchen.

Capital Tacos, which got its start in the Tampa Bay community of Land O' Lakes in 2013, began franchising in 2022.  The company also entered the Atlanta market in 2022 via a partnership with ghost kitchen operator CloudKitchens, but that restaurant closed just a few months later.  The "Digital Kitchen" was located at 800 Forrest Street in West Midtown.  Yelp and Google reviews were largely negative, which could reflect the limited control the brand had over the location and their desire to open corporate units that provide them a better opportunity to make a good impression in a new market. 

That said, we were one of the first 100 at the Peachtree Corners opening and found the food terribly mediocre with one friend calling it "Taco Bell-esqe" and another saying that was giving it too much credit.  The brand claimed to feature "Tacos Done Right," but with most tacos pushing six bucks, and really not as good as other less expensive options, it's no wonder the restaurants were often empty.

Even free, we used only three of our 52 free tacos.  The saying "this place is falling apart" is overused by some, but on our recent visit to the Johns Creek restaurant, a chair that was for some reason affixed to the wall of the restroom literally fell from the wall as we were washing our hands.  

Also worth noting, six of the past ten Google reviews for the Johns Creek location were one star, two were two stars, and two were five stars.  Overall, the restaurant had a 3.9 rating with 173 reviews.  Among the disappointments cited in the reviews were incorrect meals, excessive wait times, lack of consistency, and poor service.  

The worst part is that the two Atlanta locations were corporately owned and managed! 

The Johns Creek unit had less than ideal access and parking and was also spitting distance from an established Moe's Southwest Grill, that while not amazing, has been in the market for years and had better access.  

In addition to the two Atlanta area closures, the company also shuttered restaurants in the Florida communities of Port Richey, Land O' Lakes, Wesley Chapel, Brandon, and Riverview, as well as in Mallard Creek in Charlotte which had only opened this past July.  A second Charlotte area location was previously planned for Cotswold Village, but it has since been removed from the company's website.  The chain closed two locations in St. Petersburg, Florida in 2020.  

A third Atlanta area location was planned for Newnan and while it is still displayed on the Capital Tacos website as "coming soon," the address provided is a residential road [Blue Ridge Drive], rather than 1111 Bullsboro Road, where they were set to occupy a former Moe's.  

The company's website indicates that there are currently just four locations open: three in Florida and one in Colorado.  In addition to the iffy Newnan restaurant, the website suggests single units are "coming soon" to New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.  

Did you ever patronize Capital Tacos?  Why do you think Capital Tacos failed?  What would you like to see open in place of the shuttered Capital Tacos in town?

Please share your thoughts below.  


Anonymous said...

Went twice to the Peachtree Corners location. First time the kids really enjoyed it, maybe that was helped by the free pinball game that is something they do. A corporate guy was there making sure everything went right, but it did a long time for the food to come out and we were there before the dinner rush. Also, the off brand soda machine didn't work right.

Went back a few weeks later because the kids wanted to go. Pinball was malfunctioning and the food still took a long time to come out and was marginal. We never returned.

Anonymous said...

I was also one of the first 100 at Peachtree Corners location- used it 4 times because it wasn’t such a great bargain but did buy gift card and now stuck w useless card and lost money- emailed company but no response
They deserve what they got
But shame Peachtree Corners has another failed restaurant

Anonymous said...

The one in Newnan is scheduled to open by end of March

Anonymous said...

Have never even heard of this place

Anonymous said...

Went when it opened in Johns Creek and went back a month or so later. There are several much better options in the area and the food really wasn’t great for the price. The location isn’t great but the smoothie place has done well and, besides the drive thru, has the same parking and access issues. If it was truly worthwhile, it may have been okay. But it just wasn’t

Anonymous said...

Went to the Peachtree Corners location a few times. Usually online orders I picked up on the way home from work. The orders came out wrong, to varying degrees, every time. They just kept missing things. I learned to check everything before walking to my car. I kept thinking it was growing pains but there didn’t seem to be any attempt to rectify it. The last time I went I asked for the extra queso on the side, as ordered, and was told it’s not on the order. I showed them the receipt, one worker was surprised but went to get it as the other worker tried to stop her as he too was convinced it wasn’t on the order. That was the last straw for me. It’s one thing to miss it, it’s quite another to miss it so badly that they were certain it wasn’t there. That explains the consistent missing items. Under trained and under supported, I suppose. We didn’t go back after that. It was too much trouble for that quality of food. They made a little extra money off of us the time I got all the way home before noticing entire entrees missing.

Anonymous said...

Went once it was awful

Anonymous said...

Taco Bell, these days is actually very good for what it is. Decent value and somewhat decent quality and consistency. I wouldn’t compare them to any number of authentic taco shops around the ATL, but for what it is they are very good. They do need to step up the quality of their guacamole, and throw ou Pepsi in favor of Coke.

Anonymous said...

Went to Peachtree Corners location once. Food sucked, honestly. Went with 3 other people and not one of us liked what we had.

Anonymous said...

Food was pretty good, except when it wasn't. I got a fried chicken taco takeout that was so overcooked it was inedible. BTW they are still selling gift cards at Costco! I'm stuck with one.

Franchisee said...

I live is Tampa which is the location of the original restaurant which was the creation of the original owner Johnathan. The tacos were around $3 and were a “one bite sensation”. The food was amazing! A place were you could refer someone and wouldn’t have a second thought about weather or not they would like it. In 2021 Johnathan partnered with some investors who wanted to grow the business. Since making delicious food was Johnathan’s first love and making money was a distant third, he eventually sold the business and that was the beginning of the end. The new owners changed the menu and doubled the prices in a successful attempt to kill the business.

Anonymous said...

I was hired to be the GM of John's Creek. I was flown to Florida on Spirit and put in a urine-smelling air bnb for a week. I was trained at two separate locations that were so far below health code standards that I was actually sickened. They were pouring grease down the drains instead of taking it to the bin outside, so the backflow flaps were stuck open. All you could smell in the back was raw sewage at both locations. My training was a joke. They taught me how to prepare the items on the menu and nothing else. Then they sent me back here to get the restaurant ready to open.

For 2 months I played equipment tech and construction worker, all by myself, getting the store ready. Was never given an agenda, checklist, or instruction whatsoever. My boss didn't show up at the restaurant, or even call me one time, until 2 days before the influencer day. His first act was to send me home and then to call and fire me the next day, over unexplained reasons.

Come to find out, one of the other store managers that they sent to train my crew found out they offered me 15k a year more than she was making, and she told a bunch of lies to get me ousted. This same manager was hitting her THC vape pen in the restaurant while cooking and training employees. My assistant GM messaged me a few days later saying he quit because the district manager was rude and racist towards white people. I can verify that statement, because I was treated the same way.

Karma is real.

Anonymous said...

The Newnan location did open. I’ve eaten there three times after work. I think the food is fine but it is at a price point that is probably a bit high for a quick service type of restaurant. When I’ve been to the location in Newnan, the service has been very friendly and pretty fast, but not many customers are ever there.

Anonymous said...

That would explain it! When I first moved to Valrico in 2019, Capital was a weekly must have at their Brandon location. Amazing one or two bite tacos! Right around 2022, something shifted... now i realize what it was. I was having a crave just the other day and found out they closed. It's a sad story.

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