The Start of Something Big
From time to time we get a chance to observe Acton entrepreneur-alums in their natural habitats: at work, forming, launching, growing, and harvesting companies. That’s Acton in the Wild!
We were on site in Fort Worth on June 24th to observe Michael McDermott and Eleanor Burkett (both Class of ‘10) at the launch party for their taco truck company YES! Taco. See video from the event below. We also spoke with them a few weeks before the event to hear their story…
Michael often ate lunch at taco trailers while practicing law in Austin and was drawn to both the food and the autonomy of the mobile restaurant business. YES! Taco was born when he “started cooking, ditched law, went to Acton, met Eleanor.”
Eleanor grew up in a small town where cooking was her favorite thing to do. She attended culinary school after college and also worked as a personal chef, caterer, and bakery manager. She went to Acton to learn the business side of the food industry.
Eleanor and Michael met during Acton’s summer-long Pre-Mat phase when they were placed in the same study group. Over the course of the year they found they had even more in common than their interest in food business. They agree that they “operate similarly…We get uptight and not-uptight about the same things…We have the same work styles…even temperaments…and we’re both good at staying focused and handing things off.” Although job descriptions don’t really apply during the launch phase when they’re “scrambling,” Burkett is in charge of the kitchen and McDermott is in charge of “making sure Eleanor has everything she needs.”
Although their official launch was in Fort Worth on June 24th, YES! Taco had already been operating for several months at Texas events like SXSW. So far they’ve learned “the exact way to serve 1400 tacos in an hour and a half, how to educate customers about the fresh ingredients and new type of taco, who is the ideal employee”, and to drink lots of water and keep the air conditioning flowing.
The future could find McDermott and Burkett running YES! Taco as a hub-and-spoke brick-and-mortar establishment or as a franchisor of mobile food trucks. In any case, Fort Worth bellies just got a lot happier.
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