The American Taco Solving taco related issues for the home cook as well as the professional chef.

The American Taco: Solving taco related issues for the home cook as well as the professional chef.

 Founded by Renaissance Man / Inventor Nicolas Stanco, who started a company called, The American Taco, a New York based corporation which today has its manufacturing in Tennessee. The Taco Rack invention started out as a simple solution for his own family taco night issues. Through years of dedication and persistence, this simple garage invention turned into a business that has exceeded his own expectations and is still growing today.

Founder’s / Owner’s Story and what motivated them to start the business.

 When Nicolas started his journey, it was not for any business reasons, just simply to eliminate the taco related issues, he was having at home for taco night with the family. Nicolas was always a fan of melting the cheese over the meat, and without the Taco Rack this proved to be difficult. Once produced, it achieved that goal so well that others stressed to him to patent his design and sell it to the public.

 Being an electrician and in construction industry his whole life, Nicolas had no idea where to begin. His design was only in his head, but it wasn’t until his electrical contracting firm got the contract to wire the first commercial laser in Brooklyn, NY. After he saw how easily this laser cut metal, he knew his customer could take his prototype concept and make it a reality. Nicolas took home a piece of scrap stainless steel and scratched out his design onto the surface. With a band saw & file, he carved out the shape. He then took his prototype to his customer to make copies of what he had created. Once the prototype was scanned into the laser’s computer, it cut out multiple copies for which he took home for personal use and gave out the rest away to friends and family to enjoy.

In 2001, a design patent was applied for The Taco Rack, at the United States Patent office. Within a year, Nicolas was granted his patent, and aside from that personal accomplishment, still had no idea how to market it or share his invention with the consumers. Shortly after he purchased a domain name, and creating a very crude website from scratch, by his own hand. This site went live and the question if the public found value in the products would soon be answered. Despite having no shopping cart, orders began to come in from various states across the US. It was within a few months of that, that the site needed to be updated to allow the public to purchase what they needed, and be able to process their credit cards, for payment.

Our first challenge was to switch from expensive laser cutting to a metal stamping solution. This change allowed the company increase profits, and an investment into tooling of more and more versions of his original concept was the next step. The next change was to improve his website. Nicolas set out on learning how to create a shopping site, and to this day is running a page he made from scratch. The new site helped him to track sales by location, and it was soon obvious that the first goal of having a successful sale of any size in each of the 50 States was achievable. That goal was reached, and international sales soon followed.

 The Challenges the business/market is facing.

It appears that tacos are the international language of the foodie community. As of today, 19 foreign countries have ordered products from his small website, which had zero marketing and what seemed to be word of mouth popularity. It wasn’t until Nicolas learned more of how the internet searches worked that he found out his choice for a domain name secured a first position on page one of every search engine, without paying for optimization. This feature was something many companies had to pay tens of thousands to have, but if you call it dumb luck, the domain name he chose was the perfect one for his product’s growth.

Securing this position, with a logical name for the site, was how people and restaurants began finding The Taco Rack brand. To build on this, newer designs of his original invention were created, and different target markets were sought. While his love of the brand remains in the home, it was apparent that sales to restaurants and food equipment suppliers would be in far larger numbers. It was at this point, Nicolas started networking in NYC with Food Network chefs. Many of them became interested in The Taco Rack, due to the fact that its twin rail open design which minimized the plate footprint and made their food the centerpiece of the plate, rather than the taco holder itself.

 Branding the products originally was with our beloved Miguel, a cartoon Mexican logo that everyone loved. However, in today’s politically correct world, Miguel along with Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben all had to be retired. To change our brand’s image, a simple circular patch with the product and company name seemed to be the best choice moving forward. Just like changing the design along the way to get higher volume sales in the food industry, a simple logo change may be needed to get past critics and grow your brand. It is important to be flexible and follow the market, without losing track of your original goal.

 For the Chef Series, having some celebrity chefs using the design, in their restaurants, on their social media pages and in their cookbooks, just added to the interest in the brand. Not having an advertising plan or budget, Nicolas did it the old-fashioned way by personally meeting with and showing his designs to the chefs first, hoping this would gather sales to food outlets as well as the retail customer. To this day, Nicolas is still friends with many of these Food Network chefs and has met some very famous culinary professionals from around the world.

The opportunities the business/market is facing.

 The Taco Rack brand has distinguished itself to both the retail & wholesale markets, by providing solutions for both. When used at home, the original concept was to create what Nicolas called The American Taco. American’s love to melt their cheese before eating, and without a stable platform to crisp the shells, then allow the home cook to hand free fill them with meats, top with cheese and return the entire tray of prepared tacos to the oven or grill, to melt the cheese into the meat. This small change in how tacos are made in the home is a revolution that one needs to try to understand. Consumers were tired of broken shells and The Taco Rack removed that issue and provided a more streamlined way to make excellent hot crisp tacos at home, while making the taco night experience that of a top quality restaurant.

 Restaurants on the other hand use the products for prep and presentation. Many top chefs from around the world have placed their creations on The Taco Rack, for their guests. Elevating both their customer satisfaction along with the highest platter presentation. In the early days, only Mexican restaurants served tacos. However today, almost every restaurant has an offering of tacos on their menu.

 Growth in surprisingly the Asian community, as well as the American style restaurants couldn’t happen at a better time for The American Taco. Early on Nicolas found out that salsa sales were beginning to exceed ketchup sales in America. This sign was proof that The Taco Rack, by The American Taco was positioned correctly for maximum growth.

Advice to others about business\

 If you are an inventor looking to get a product into the market, Nicolas’s advice is simple. Follow your dreams, don’t let the nay sayers detract you. Put in all the hours you can into your venture and most importantly, never give up. Only you can make it happen, there is very few success stories without the hard work side added to the journey. The one thing that is assured is, if you don’t take that first step, you will never know if your dreams would come true. Then if you fail, try again. Having faith in yourself is an important trait. Having faith in your invention, that it will satisfy the target market, solve problems and have value that others can see, is a key feature in any business.

Selling a story is as important as selling a product. The story behind the product as well as the inventor is what people buy today. There may be many taco related products on the market these days, but the origin of The Taco Rack, and why it was originally created for the inventors own home is what will interest buyers as much as the product itself.

 The phrase with inventions has always been to “Think outside the box.” In the case of the Taco Rack, we must also “Think outside the shell.”

If you are a taco lover, Nicolas invites you to stop by his site, check out the various models that will fit your family’s taco night needs and experience The American Taco for yourself. Until you “Check Out My Rack”, you will not completely understand the difference The Taco Rack will make for your family, until you try it. In the oven or on the grill, tacos will never be the same. Thanks to the hard work of one rebel inventor, who never quits on his dream.

Latest posts by Crystal Kadir (see all)

MS, Durham University

The work of a family doctor includes a wide range of clinical diversity, which requires extensive knowledge and erudition from a specialist. However, I believe that the most important thing for a family doctor is to be human because the cooperation and understanding between the doctor and the patient are crucial in ensuring successful health care. On my days off, I love being in nature. Since childhood, I have been passionate about playing chess and tennis. Whenever I have time off, I enjoy traveling around the world.

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