August 4, 2020

Off-Premise Business Drives Pandemic Sales Growth as Beloved Neighborhood Sports Bar Opens Lawrenceville Location, Eyes Further Expansion

At a time when many restaurants are closing their doors due to the negative sales impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Taco Mac has seen positive year-over-year sales and is expanding, having opened its 27th location in Lawrenceville, Georgia, on Monday, Aug. 3. What’s more, the neighborhood sports bar concept known for its wide variety of craft beers on draft and family-friendly dining has enjoyed this extraordinary success despite a lack of professional sports that usually draw guests into its dining rooms.


“We’re very grateful to our guests and proud of their trust in us as we have navigated these uncharted waters over the past several months,” says CEO Harold Martin, Jr. “Our guests have shown up for us. From day one, when our dining rooms closed and we pivoted to off-premise only, our sales did not dip as much as other restaurant companies, because our delivery and takeout business grew substantially. That allowed us to retain our entire salaried team without having to furlough anyone or reduce pay.”


Martin attributes this customer loyalty to Taco Mac’s 41-year legacy of best-in-class wings, a robust loyalty program centered around craft beer, continuous innovation and commitment to the communities each restaurant serves.


“During uncertain times, I believe it is natural for all of us to patronize brands that we trust,” he says. “Guests want to dine with restaurants that have been consistent and that they trust to do the right thing to foster a safe dining environment. Our success is a testament to our team—I believe we have the best operators and corporate staff in the business—and to the generations of Taco Mac teams that came before ours, building that trust over four decades. This enduring momentum led to the Georgia Restaurant Association awarding Taco Mac the Restaurateur of the Year in 2019. There are very few brands that have been around for more than 40 years and that are still innovative and vibrant.”


Martin is especially proud of the fact that Taco Mac has done so well in a tumultuous time despite the absence of sports—historically, a key part of its business model. “We’ve always known that we’re more than a sports bar,” he says. “We’re a family dining establishment and a pillar in the community, but at the same time, a lot of our business is driven by sports. So, having performed so well during COVID-19 with zero sports has been very inspiring. It’s built more confidence in continuing to invest and grow our brand.”


This is where Taco Mac’s focus lies, looking beyond its newest location in Lawrenceville to opening a restaurant in Hiram later this year. “We’re thinking long-term, five to 10 years down the road,” Martin says. “Our goal is to expand across the state of Georgia over the next several years; Georgia is our home and we want Taco Mac to be accessible to all communities across the state. We are focused on hiring the best managers possible, building our innovation pipeline through new menu items and cocktails and investing in our loyalty program to position ourselves for outstanding performance in the future.”


“When you take that long-term view,” he continues, “You ask, ‘What are the fundamental tenets of our business?’ And the answer is that we’re a neighborhood restaurant with a welcoming environment for families to convene around great food, beer and sports. We believe there’s a place for that long-term.”


To ensure the health and safety of those who work in and patronize the restaurant, Taco Mac restaurants are following strict safety guidelines. All locations have implemented safety precautions recommended by local, state and federal governments, as well as the CDC, which are designed to combat the spread of COVID-19. To read more about the rigorous procedures, click here.


About Taco Mac
An Atlanta institution since 1979, Taco Mac offers a wide variety of beers on draft, the Southeast’s Original Buffalo wings and multiple HDTVs for enjoying all your favorite sporting events. Started by two friends from Buffalo, New York, Taco Mac now has 27 locations across Georgia and Tennessee. Taco Mac has been named the best sports bar in Atlanta by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jezebel and Groupon and one of the five best sports bars in America by ESPN. For more information, visit tacomac.com