Taco Del Mar Changes Leadership

Kevin Hansen Appointed Chief Operations Officer; Co-founder And Ceo James Schmidt Resumes Presidency And Outgoing President David Huether Steps Into Advisory Role

November 19, 2007 // Franchising.com // (SEATTLE)—Amid a pivotal stage in its growth and development, Taco Del Mar announced today a change in leadership affecting three of its principal officers.

Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer James Schmidt has resumed the role of President, a position he held from 1992 to 2004; Kevin Hansen, the company's vice president of franchise development, has been promoted to Chief Operations Officer; and David Huether, who served as Taco Del Mar President since December 2004, has stepped down to consult for the company and remain a stakeholder.

Huether, prior to serving as president, was a consulting director to the company. He is credited for helping transition Taco Del Mar from a corporate owned restaurant in the Northwest to a franchise system using a model of regional franchisors called Master Developers, which allowed the company to readily expand to new markets.

"David has done a tremendous job for Taco Del Mar; his organizational focus enabled the company to refine the brand and grow steadily across North America," Schmidt said. "Moving forward with Kevin and myself at the helm, we are confident in our continued success with several new initiatives underway. I feel honored to have worked alongside such a dedicated individual."

Hansen, who will run day to day operations at Taco Del Mar, has a 10-year history with the company. He previously served as a franchise consultant for Papa Murphy's International in the Washington state and North Idaho markets. Kevin also owned a Seattle-area Taco Bell franchise for five years. He worked as Area Director of Operations for Calny, Inc., a 132-unit, multi-concept food service company in San Mateo, California.

Schmidt is planning to introduce several initiatives including an everyday low price menu model and enhanced support programs to ensure the success of franchisees in new and existing markets. This fall he personally visited select Taco Del Mar restaurants across the country, working with franchises to help each run optimally.

Co-founded in 1992 by brothers James and John Schmidt, Taco Del Mar took inspiration from the fresh, delicious, and fulfilling food of Baja and Southern California. The first Taco Del Mar opened on June 8, 1992 on Pier 57 in Seattle's historic waterfront district Today, the company that started with $22,000 in startup capital (from friends and family) is franchising in over 75 DMA's and has restaurants throughout the United States and Canada. Taco Del Mar, still privately held, has become one of the top five national players in Mexican Fast Casual restaurants in number of units. New developments have recently emerged in the Northeast and New England, where Taco Del Mar could realize 335 locations there by 2017.

Taco Del Mar's signature mondo burritos, tacos, and platters are served in more than 260 locations across North America. Learn more at http://www.tacodelmar.com.

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