What’s the difference between authentic Mexican tacos and Austin-style tacos?
Tyson Blankemeyer – that’s what! A New York-trained chef who ran a successful molecular gastronomy restaurant in Monterrey, Mexico and then moved to Austin to open Tyson’s Tacos. Blankemeyer’s shop is a little different than most taco restaurants because you won’t find any authentic Mexican tacos here! His extensive menu is full of catchy, pop culture-influenced item names and diverse ingredients that include fried egg yolks and crispy duck.
Tyson’s Tacos and Fivestars
Blankemeyer uses the loyalty program differently than many other merchants, because while Tyson’s Tacos offers the typical “free taco or drink,” they also go much deeper. If customers have enough Fivestars points, they earn the right to choose what ingredients they want in their taco, hence “Austin-style.”
“Years ago while we were struggling to make it, customers would say things like, ‘Hey Tyson, why don’t you make a taco with these ingredients?’” Blankemeyer says, “Not being one to turn away customers, we would make it and put it on the menu. More customers made me look at it as a way to turn this into a repeatable rewards system. We use Fivestars to let customers gain enough points to redeem and create their own taco. It has become so popular that we keep having to move the threshold of points higher.”
How successful has this reward been? Customers now need to reach 400 points to start getting creative with their tacos.
In Austin, where tacos are king, Blankemeyer competes with numerous taco chains that have gone to open multiple locations around the area. Fivestars “has helped me keep a loyal following while holding my own against the larger players. I love Fivestars because it has helped my business grow by driving repeatable business and customers. I’m also able to send promotions via texts and emails to my whole clientele base at any time.” The result? Blankemeyer’s sales have doubled over the past two years.
Tyson’s Tacos and the Community
As a small business owner, Blankemeyer actively promotes of a #LoveLocal movement – offering discounts and free food to local charities and organizations, buying ingredients at local places when possible, and using Austin’s very own delivery platform, Favor, which has helped them grow unbelievably. Located in the “Live Music Capital City in the World,” they also give free tacos to any musician who plays the ukulele to their customers. (Limit one taco per song. No limit on the songs played.)
At Tyson’s Tacos, there’s a unique story behind every taco made, which bring Austinities together. People looking for traditional Mexican tacos criticize Blankemeyer, saying the food served at his restaurant is not Mexican. He happily agrees, “It’s Austin!”