Chain Gangs: Torchy’s Tacos and Verts Kebap: Two Case Studies in Culinary Expansion”

Austin Chronicle’s Virginia Wood drops a little history of Austin entrepreneurship in the food sector, as well as a look into how restaurant chains have come to be an American staple. As early as the late 19th century, savvy folks were bringing quality and standardization to the dining and travel industries.

The article highlights Torchy’s founder Mike Rypka’s background and expansion model:

Before moving to Austin, Virginia native and Johnson & Wales culinary graduate Michael Rypka had a pretty high-powered career as a corporate chef at such places as the World Bank in D.C. and Enron in Houston. Once here, he became corporate chef for Comida Deluxe, then the parent company for Chuy’s and other restaurant concepts owned by longtime Austin restaurateurs Mike Young and John Zapp. “Actually, I attribute much of my success with Torchy’s to learning about entrepreneurship from them,” Rypka says. “They’ve been very supportive and enthusiastic about my company.

Image courtesy Austin Chronicle

Image courtesy Austin Chronicle

And explains our evolution from trailer to storefront operations:

Rypka and his investors initially broke into brick-and-mortar eateries by picking up leases on small, failed restaurants and giving the available facilities a “Torchy’s” spin. “We did our first few that way, expanding mostly just from customers approaching us, wanting to know when we were going to do one in their neighborhood,” he says.

The dudes at Verts kebap have had quick and distinct success with their fast, healthy Berlin-inspired kebaps. Like Torchy’s, Vert’s has made efforts to partner with local companies where possible and embrace a DIY model. We admire the fire in their eyes as they expand rapidly. READ MORE.