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Sam Fonseca of Roll-Em-Up Taquitos on Simplicity for Successful Restaurants Interview with Roll-Em-Up Taquitos COO Sam Fonseca about the power of social media, adjusting for customer expectations, and keeping Mama Karen's legacy alive.

By Shawn P. Walchef

Key Takeaways

  • Mama Karen's Legacy - Sam Fonseca intentionally keeps Roll-Em-Up Taquitos menu simple. Not because they can't do other things, because they won't. Fonseca and company know why their customers are there and plan to give them the absolute best taquito that anyone has to offer; Just like Mama Karen, the original inspiration, would like it.
  • Social Media is the New Commercial - With over 100K followers on TikTok for Roll Em Up Taquitos, Sam Fonseca understands the power of social media. In his experience, Fonseca has had less customers know about Saturday morning cartoons or have a favorite show, and more who are able to reach out via social media to inquire about Roll Em Up's whereabouts.
  • Park in the Lot - During his days at Raising Cane's, Sam Fonseca received a serendipitous piece of advice from a customer who mistakenly thought the restaurant was open earlier than it was. That advice? Park on the lot. The more cars in the lot, the more customers are attracted.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Roll-Em-Up Taquitos and its COO Sam Fonseca follow a deliberate approach to keeping their menu — and business — simple and successful.

"My role is to make sure that our focus is on our taquitos." says COO Sam Fonseca to Shawn Walchef of CaliBBQ Media. "When you add other things, it actually devalues what we do best. It's going to take our attention away just even a smidgen for something else."

In honor of the original inspiration, Mama Karen, Sam Fonseca and team at Roll-Em-Up Taquitos understand the true desires of their customers and strive to surpass expectations with every "Bomb AF" Taquito rolled.

Though they stay consistent to their simplified menu, that doesn't mean Fonseca isn't flexible enough to make adjustments necessary to enhance the business.

In a serendipitous meeting with an overzealous customer while working at a previous job, Fonseca quickly understood the importance of listening to customer desires. The customer came to the door early in the morning during a team meeting, thinking the restaurant was open due to the amount of cars in the parking lot.

Sam Fonseca instantly recognized the opportunity to change business hours and attract a new sector of customers by simply allowing employees to fill the parking lot with their cars and opening the doors at 9 in the morning.

Recognizing the immense power of social media storytelling for restaurants, with over 100K followers on TikTok and Instagram for Roll-Em-Up Taquitos, Fonseca has observed a shift in customer behavior. Fewer people these days are connected by shared memories of Saturday morning cartoons or favorite network TV shows, while more are finding connections through social media platforms.

The digital landscape has allowed customers to easily reach out, inquire about Roll Em Up locations, and stay connected with the brand.

"Social media is just this powerful, powerful tool, right, that can reach folks in different countries, in different states." says Sam Fonseca. "It's just an amazing marketing tool."

Roll-Em-Up Taquitos embodies the idea of simplicity by focusing on their expertise, engaging customers through social media platforms, and capitalizing on customer connections. Roll Em Up Taquitos continues to flourish, and Fonseca's approach ensures that the company remains a beacon of culinary excellence, bringing joy to taquito enthusiasts who come to their locations with high expectations.

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Shawn P. Walchef

Founder of Cali BBQ Media

“Be the show, not the commercial.”

Cali BBQ Media Founder Shawn Walchef helps brands and leaders leverage the new Business Creator Economy with strategic Smartphone Storytelling and Digital Hospitality.

His Cali BBQ restaurant company has generated more than $35 million since opening in 2008. They operate numerous locations in San Diego and beyond.

Shawn’s weekly video series Restaurant Influencers (published by Entrepreneur Media and produced by Cali BBQ Media) has been seen by over 25 million people.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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