Yabos Tacos is blowing away the competition in Ohio.  With 3 locations and others in the works, Yabos Tacos is changing the face of sports bars and fast casuals with their fresh, fun and healthy offerings.

Stellar management and a robust business plan has propelled Yabos Tacos to success and into our Customer Spotlight.  Scott Boles is one of the owners and Yabos was his brainchild.  Scott entered our Experts Express! competition and was selected by celebrity chef Robert Irvine as the Grand Prize winner.

Scott’s thorough understanding of foodservice management is clear in his thoughtful contest entry. We sat down with Scott to learn more about Yabos’ success and how he feels about Chef Robert selecting his submission as the best in show.

Scott: I am thrilled to be a winner!  After reading all the submissions I feel very fortunate because there were some very insightful entries.  My submission was taken from the practices we try to follow everyday in our restaurants.

As far as Robert goes, I don’t think I have ever missed an episode of Restaurant: Impossible and have been a big fan of his for a long time.  I first became a fan of watching Robert work was his show Dinner Impossible which I liked for the innovative way he cooked in the most difficult of conditions.  I identified with him because people always ask me what’s my favorite thing to cook and I usually reply a 5-star dinner while camping because in a commercial kitchen you have all the tools to prepare a magnificent meal, but to do it over a campfire with a knife, a pot, and a stick, well that’s an accomplishment!

Yabos Tacos is a rapidly growing concept that we started just 2 years ago, and I really want to chat with Robert about his insight into things he would suggest and things to stay away from.

The Iceologist:  Well, you’re going to have the chance to speak with Chef Robert soon as part of your Grand Prize!  Tell me about the Yabos Tacos concept.

yabos tacos fast casual restaurants in OhioScott: I spent 30 years turning around kitchens in restaurants and resorts throughout the U.S. and thought it’d be different to create a fast-casual using tacos as the vehicle for Americana food, not Mexican food.  All of our proteins have regional Americana roots. For example our pork tacos are inspired by North Carolina pulled pork.  Kansas City style short ribs are the inspiration for our shredded beef tacos.  And our fish and chicken tacos have an original spice blend influenced by Louisiana flavors.

Our food is fresh, light and affordable.  We cook…we don’t warm our food.  Nothing is frozen and we don’t even have microwaves at our restaurants.  Our sauces and spice blends are proprietary (and available for purchase) and no one can beat our margaritas!

The Iceologist:  Ok, now my mouth is watering!  What makes your margaritas special?

Scott: It took 4 months to develop our margarita recipe and it’s legendary!  We make them up ahead of time in 5 gallon batches: 3/4 reposado tequila, triple sec, fresh lime juice and agave.  That’s it.  We let it sit for a week until it’s totally mellow — we age in the freezer until it gets all happy together.  Our margaritas are so smooth that when people try them for the first time, they think there’s no alcohol.  But two of these and you’ll be making bad decisions!

The Iceologist:  I noticed your menu has many gluten-free items which is such a hot trend right now.

Scott:  We wanted to appeal to the female palate and that’s why we went with so many gluten-free menu items. You gotta stay with the yabos tacos is allergy conscious and have many gluten free dishestimes!  We’re very aware of allergies and food intolerances so we take special care to avoid any of these issues.  We don’t have any menu items with nuts, so no fear of cross-contamination.

The Iceologist:  In your winning Experts Express! submission, you talked a lot about hiring the right people as a key to your success. Can you expand on that?

Scott:  I’m a big believer in hiring people with passion. You can teach skills but you can’t teach passion.  I push my servers to be opinionated.  I want them to tell the guests what they love on the menu — this helps develop a connection between guests and servers. We’re working hard, but I want it to be fun too.

The Iceologist:  Sounds like Yabos Tacos is a great place to work!  Getting back to your margaritas, you must go through a lot of ice.  Dare I ask your feelings about ice machines?

Scott:  We inherited a Scotsman ice machine when we first opened and it was a nightmare!  It wasn’t a good machine and it was always breaking.  Of course it never broke on a Monday, it was always on a weekend or when we’re getting slammed during dinner service.  My repair guy suggested we ditch the Scotsman and sign up with Easy Ice.

Ever since Easy Ice installed our new Hoshizaki ice maker, I never sweat the ice — I simply don’t think about ice anymore! Hoshizaki makes the best commercial ice machines and your maintenance insures the health inspector will never find slime in the machine.  I’m tickled to death with your subscription program!  I especially love your Breakdown Ice benefit.

We want to cook — not screw around with ice makers.  They are the biggest headache & we want to keep our guests safe.  It’s a no brainer!  As we continue to grow (we’re looking at franchising right now), I’ll add more ice machines from Easy Ice.

I never thought that I would enjoy a partnership so much, but you folks at Easy Ice have solidified a customer for life!