Tacos Calafia - Surprise.
As a marketing professional it is always nice to see a restaurant with a focused niche. Tacos Calafia definitely has its niche figured out. But, focusing on being the best at a category of food requires some counterintuitive thinking.
More often than not, restauranteur 's make the mistake of trying to be all things to all people. With Tacos Calafia, the simplicity is always refreshing. The menu conists of 5 items at are not drastic deviations from the core offering of Tacos. Everything comes with a simple choice of meats: Carne Asada, Al Pastor, Pollo, Cabeza, Nopales. The options apply to all the choices.
What makes this place unique.
Let's face it. Finding taco's today is not that hard. In order to be different. Tacos Calafia has done something to set themselves apart.
One aspect of their success certainly comes from their simple, yet elegant, toppings bar where you get your dish with a core foundational offering and can build the rest yourself.
Surprisingly enough, even though the toppings bar is somewhat limited, you can suit just about any tastebud preference.
What about the quality of the food?
The quality standards at Tacos Calafia is clearly high.
Their tortillas are real with the taste and feel of being home made.
The meat is well marinated and cooked. The flavors you end up with are fantastic.
In the Surprise location they prepare the food with an open kitchen feel so you can see the cleanliness and construction of your plate.
So far the restaurant has always been clean!
What can they do better?
There is such a huge opportunity for Tacos Calafia to be a leader in the taco market.
But, they need to step up standards in their in store marketing and appearance.
They should also do a better job of building their fan base. Funny t-shirts and not skimping on signage in the store would almost certainly lead to increased revenue.
Another area of improvement is consistency in the staffs' engagement with the customers. On my first visit to the Surprise location was completely different than my second. On the first visit, a young man excitedly greeted every customer that walked in and ask them if they have ever had Tacos Calafia's awesome food.
The second visit was more mechanical. There was far less enthusiasm amongst the staff.
There was, however, an awesome older man who worked the line. He was authentically engaging. In fact, he seems to be a constant at the location. He offered me some awesome onions and a grilled chili on my first visit and he remembered me on my second visit. Outside the food, he is definitely a constant perk.
This is what truly builds brand loyalty. The human nature aspect. ( Click here to see what I mean ).
On another critical note, Tacos Calafia's website doesn't reflect their offering and it doesn't even show the Surprise Location. I just happened to stumble on this other location, having only previously been familiar with their Peoria location (at 8258 W Thunderbird Rd, Suite 206).
OK, so let's talk about the pricing. How does Tacos Calafia stack up?
Let's put it this way. A taco is around 2 bucks and you can grub on as many as you can possibly stick in your mouth for 15 bucks on a Thursday.
The whole DeSoto family grubs there for about 25 bucks, which is half of what we usually have to spend to feed everyone elsewhere.
So, will I go back?
Yup. Sure will.
There is another shop that I will review soon in El Mirage that has a different flare. However you wont be disappointed going to Tacos Calafia 17239 N Litchfield Rd #68, Surprise, AZ.