Less than six years after opening a modest taco stand that soon became a magnet for foodies, Lisandro “Chando” Madrigal is spending $1 million to open a fourth location – a 9,500-square foot “mothership” he says will position him to launch a major expansion effort.
The West Sacramento building, purchased from United Bakery for $800,000, will include a new Chando’s Tacos restaurant, office space for Chando’s Enterprises, and a kitchen to bake all of the company’s tortillas and bread, along with prepping and storing food for all Chando’s locations.
The restaurant should be open in a month, following about $200,000 of upgrades to the building, including three “monster hoods,” or ventilation systems, said Madrigal, 35. He has hired 10 new employees, will shift some current employees to other locations and expects to hire more people in the weeks to come.
“This is like the mothership. This is where all the magic is going to happen,” he said. “I am really excited because this is going to be the missing element that will give us as much control of the product as possible. We’ll manufacture our tortillas, marinate the meats and deliver the ingredients to all of the locations on a daily basis.”
Madrigal, who once worked in sales for Apple Inc., left a six-figure job once Chando’s Tacos took off. The original location at 863 Arden Way continues to draw long lines at peak hours. The other locations (5665 Power Inn Road, Sacramento, and 943 Pleasant Grove Blvd., Roseville) are also routinely busy.
The new headquarters is located close to three popular craft breweries – Yolo Brewing, Bike Dog and Jack Rabbit – and is the latest success story for West Sacramento. The city recently welcomed into the fold a fourth craft brewery, Revision Brewing, owned by Jeremy Warren, the founder of Knee Deep Brewing in Auburn. Warren parted ways with Knee Deep partner Jerry Moore last summer. Revision is expected to open sometime this year.
Located at 2530 Boatman Ave., the new space will allow Madrigal to launch a significant expansion in the months and years to come, he said. Once the West Sacramento operation is up and running, he plans to open two more Chando’s Tacos, with more openings to come. Chando’s Tacos will look to expand throughout the Sacramento region with a drive-through kiosk concept, along with expansion to the Bay Area and beyond.
“My plan for expansion is to have small shops and quick service,” Madrigal said. “Folsom is on my radar. Elk Grove is on my radar. I like Carmichael. There is a lot of opportunity in places like Davis and in the Bay Area. I’m setting up an infrastructure that will give us a scalable model. Once I recover from this significant investment, I will be ready to put the pedal to the metal.”
Among the major changes will be an early morning work shift that will see a team of employees do all of the baking and much of the prepping for the various locations. Each location, however, will continue to barbecue its chicken, fish and carne asada.
Chando’s currently has 70 employees. The company also has three food trucks, with a fourth planned for sometime in 2016. Chando’s Tacos opened in 2010, with Madrigal and his wife, Karla, doing the bulk of the work. The restaurant is known for its flavorful meats, and its tacos have earned a devoted following.
“I can now look back and reminisce about the old days when my wife and I were prepping stuff and I was getting ready to cater in people’s backyards,” Madrigal said.
There’s a price to be paid for raising the minimum wage. At one local Mexican food chain, it’s 14 cents a taco.