Snappetizing: 5 Questions With Dos Toros Taqueria Co-CEO Leo Kremer


Dos Toros Taqueria - Leo and Oliver Kremer

The New York City-headquartered Dos Toros aims to bring the best of the San Francisco taqueria experience to the Big Apple—and now, beyond. Building on its 13 locations across New York, the fast casual restaurant is using social media to put a modern spin on marketing and increase engagement with its just-wrapped “13 in 13” Snapchat Challenge to promote its “thoughtful expansion” in the US.

Dos Toros Taqueria logoTo celebrate store #14 with its upcoming Chicago opening, marking the brand’s first expansion outside of NYC, Dos Toros invited burrito lovers to visit one of its 13 current locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn for the chance to win a trip to Chicago, plus free burritos for a year. To qualify, fans could use the brand’s custom Snapchat geofilter (no purchase necessary) and submit a screenshot of it on Instagram or by email.

Over the two weeks of the promotion, from July 10-23, individuals and groups visited multiple locations—some visiting all 13 stores—to improve their chances of winning the grand prize. One two-woman team completed the task in just five hours.

Dos Toros Snapchat filterDos Toros Taqueria was founded by Berkeley, California-born brothers Oliver and Leo Kremer, who started the “highly scalable” concept to bring a taste of Mission-style burritos beyond the Bay Area. Burning with a passion for burritos, but no real restaurant industry experience, they spent more than a year developing recipes, finding a location, designing the menu and the restaurant, and hiring their team.

For more on the brand’s savvy-yet-sustainable growth—which American Express Open highlighted in the videos below—we chatted with Dos Toros co-CEO Leo Kremer (in the pink shirt at top), who also happens to be a professional bass guitarist whose résumé includes a two-year stint with the rock band Third Eye Blind.

Leo, 13 in 13 celebrates the growth of Dos Toros in New York and your upcoming expansion to Chicago. How did you come up with the prize?

Anyone who enters has a chance to win two roundtrip airfare tickets to our Chicago grand opening celebration in late August, as well as a Dos Toros Black Card, which grants you free burritos for a year! We also gave away 10 Black Cards at random as prizes for participating. The more locations players visited, the better their chances of winning the grand prize, but it only takes one entry to win.

Dos Toros black card

What has the response been like?

The response has been incredible! A handful of participants have visited all 13 NYC locations, including two ladies (below) who did it all in just five hours. We’ve been seriously impressed by the creativity in some of these selfies with the use of props, emoji combinations, and hand-drawn Snap art—people are serious about winning burritos.

It’s awesome to see the excitement and enthusiasm guests have for the contest and our upcoming Chicago opening, which marks our first-ever location outside of New York. Overall, “13 in 13” has been a great way to reach people where they already are—social media—and increase our brand engagement.

What was your brand’s growth trajectory in getting to 13 locations? Certainly a positive review in the New York Times must have helped.

It’s been quite the whirlwind. My brother and I grew up in Berkeley, and when we moved to the East Coast, we quickly realized classic Mission-style cuisine really wasn’t available anywhere else. We opened our first location in October 2009 in NYC’s Union Square neighborhood.

Following an overwhelmingly positive response from locals and West coast transplants alike, we began expanding and now serve guests at our 13 locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn. The past two years have been huge for us in terms of expansion and reaching new customers.

How do you scale and grow at a pace that lets you keep control of the brand, the quality and the customer experience?

Our guests always come first, and we’ve kept their needs in mind whenever we open a new location. We pride ourselves on providing the best possible experience, highest quality food and freshest ingredients, so when it comes to growing our business, expansion is thoughtful and based on what makes sense for us. At Dos Toros, we’re always experimenting with new ways to surprise and delight our customers with fun, unique experiences.

As our own take on NYC Restaurant Week, we’re launching “Restaurant Tweak,” an elevated fine dining experience for guests at our Grand Central location from 7/31 to 8/6 that will include a prix fixe menu, white tablecloths and candlelight. We’ll serve a limited-time, two-course meal ($25 per person), featuring a curated group of local partners: Pat LaFrieda, Dough and Brooklyn Brewery.

What are your priorities for growth?

Right now, we’re focusing on our upcoming Chicago restaurant, which is set to open in August. We’re thrilled to bring our authentic, San Francisco mission-style taqueria cuisine to a city that loves food.

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