CHEYENNE – Taco John’s President and CEO Jim Creel admitted Friday that for many years, Taco John’s has been behind the times with regard to technology.

As the third-largest Mexican food chain in the country, it’s not like the company was hurting for customers. But the higher-ups with the Cheyenne-based Taco John’s knew they needed to step things up, to find a way to usher themselves ahead of the competition.

They came up with a plan, with the company’s technology and culinary departments putting their heads together to find some new ways to make Taco John’s better.

Actually, make that “bigger, better, bolder,” which is Taco John’s new slogan.

It, along with numerous other changes the company will begin implementing in Cheyenne and its 400 stores across the country, was unveiled Friday at the ribbon cutting of the revamped South Greeley Highway location.

Back in April, the building that sits next to Sonic was razed, with plans for a redesigned location going in its place.

Over the summer, Taco John’s got into the food truck game, with one being stationed just south of the new building and across the road, as well as at local events such as Fridays on the Plaza.

But people on the south side of town have anxiously waited for their Taco John’s to return. It’s hard to go six months without Potato Olés being in such close proximity.

Today, the renovated Taco John’s will open its doors to hungry customers at 10 a.m. The first 100 people in line will receive a “golden ticket,” which will grant them one free order of Potato Olés a day for one year.

“You might want to hurry up and get in line now,” Creel joked with members of the media Friday.

The remodeled store includes a new color scheme, going toward gray and red, and away from the usual yellow and orange; new tables and chairs; large glass windows; two digital kiosks customers can use to order from; and a digital menu both in the drive-thru and inside the store.

These changes and designs will start being implemented in the other Cheyenne stores beginning next year, with Creel adding that Taco John’s intends to update all of its stores nationwide over the next three to four years.

Along with Creel, Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr and state Sen. Tara Nethercott, R-Cheyenne, were in attendance at the ribbon cutting. Nethercott presented Creel with a framed certificate from the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce, for which she is the outgoing board chairwoman.

“We want to thank Taco John’s for being a Wyoming leader and business for 50 years,” Nethercott said.

“Taco John’s has been a chamber member since 1977, so that’s 42 years of being a solid business partner and a business that drives this community forward – both Cheyenne and Wyoming. I don’t know life in Wyoming without Taco John’s.”

Ellen Fike is a freelance writer living in Cheyenne. She can be reached at elfylucille@gmail.com. Follow her on Twitter at @EllenLFike.

Ellen Fike is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s features editor. She can be reached at efike@wyomingnews.com or 307-633-3135. Follow her on Twitter @EllenLFike

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