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My Favorite Taco

Q&A with Randy Wyner, Founder of Chronic Tacos

12:12 PM PST on November 15, 2014

Randy Wyner

In our long-running quest to give you, our dear readers, insight into the grand pageant that is the taco lifestyle, we seek out individuals who can teach us about their business success in the taco game. One such person is Randy Wyner. At age 26 he founded Chronic Tacos, which now has 30 locations in North America, with a plan to get to 100. He has brought the taco lifestyle to Canada in a big way, with several locations in British Columbia. Let's chat with Randy about what makes a great taco and what the taco life means to him...

What's your all-time favorite taco that isn't served at Chronic Tacos?
I've had some amazing Lobster tacos in Mexico.

What do you order at Chronic Tacos?
I always order the beer-battered fish taco, Baja style and the Al Pastor taco with a side of rice and beans.

Where did you grow up?
Orange, California.

What got you into the taco game originally?
As any native knows growing up in Southern California, you get a lot of exposure to taquerias – good and bad. The ones with the best food were always the family owned hole-in-the-wall, tiny shack taquerias. I knew I wanted to capture the SoCal laidback vibe and still provide the authenticity I got from walking into a taqueria that had a couple generations working together in the kitchen.

What was harder, opening one store or growing the business to multiple stores?
Opening our first Chronic Tacos in Newport Beach was challenging in a lot of ways. My friend Daniel and I had the idea to provide a taco experience you couldn’t get anywhere else. The passion was there, but we didn’t have the business know-how. We had to learn a lot about running a business pretty quickly. Once we started opening more locations we brought in Michael Mohammed as CEO to handle the business side of things!

WeeMan RandyWyner, Founder of Chronic Tacos, and customer on Grand Opening Day

Randy with a customer and Wee Man, a Chronic Tacos franchisee. 

What was one thing that truly surprised you about owning a taco shop?
Every day is fun and I think that’s related to the fact that we love what we do. There is never a dull moment and even with the challenges, we’ve managed to stay true to ourselves. Now that I’m here and I see how it feels to make people happy with great food, I can't see myself doing anything else.

What is your favorite neighborhood in LA?
Redondo Beach, I visit the Chronic Tacos there and just hang out.

Are there plans to expand to Washington State and Colorado, where people could indulge in some locally grown Chronic and then Chronic Tacos?
I love going to both of those states and think Chronic Tacos would do well there. Of course we’re always looking into new markets that appreciate our vibe and want authentic tacos with fresh ingredients. Right now, there are multiple territories that we are going to expand into and those plans will definitely include Washington and Colorado.

Do you have a lucky number?
What is your advice for entrepreneurs who want to replicate your success in the taco (or any) world?
I’m not your typical entrepreneur, I didn’t go to college and I think it comes down to being true to yourself and what you love doing and putting in the work along the way.
In your opinion, what makes a truly great taco?
For me, I feel like the taco captures individuality. There is no right or wrong way to make a taco and the same goes with the way you live your life. The taco is versatile, it’s about what you want to make of it and I think that’s where Chronic tacos really stands out – our individuality.

What sets Chronic Tacos apart from other taco shops?
We didn’t want to be like any other taco place out there and there is a lot of passion behind our mission. Even as Chronic Tacos has grown we have kept that same uniqueness and authenticity that was behind the first one.


What has been the reception to Chronic Tacos in Canada?
We love our Canadian brethren and we were so happy when Vancouver embraced the California vibe. It’s all been really positive and we can’t wait to open some more soon.

What's your definition of the taco life?
Taco life is all about Individuality.

What's your next move?
The possibilities are endless right now. The past 12 years have been a remarkable journey and I’d love to bring the awesomeness of Chronic Tacos to every state and across the world.

Follow Randy Wyner on Twitter.

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