Torchy’s Tacos names founder Mike Rypka CEO months after GJ Hart’s departure

Founder had taken reigns of the brand since last November

Torchy’s Tacos named Mike Rypka, the taco chain’s founder, chief executive officer. Rypka had served as interim CEO since the departure of outgoing chief, GJ Hart, November 5. The move makes his appointment permanent in 2022 as the fast casual expands beyond Colorado and its Southern US markets.

Rypka founded Torchy’s Tacos in 2006 and led the chain through 2018. Prior to starting the concept, he served as corporate chef for World Bank, MTV Studios, Disney Animation, and Dell. Prior to launching the food truck on Austin’s South First Street, Rypka had considered opening an independent restaurant.

“This is the company I built, and I love, and I am humbled to return as CEO of Torchy’s Tacos,” said Mike Rypka, founder and chief executive. “My dream for Torchy’s began out of a small food truck in downtown Austin, and it has been incredible to reflect on what we have built over the last 15 years. I am proud that we have remained intensely focused on innovation, serving up the best Damn Good Tacos you’ve ever tasted, while continuing to elevate the guest experience through initiatives like handmade tortillas, made-to-order piping hot tacos, optimized kitchen designs, and delivering exceptional hospitality every time you visit.”

[Related article: Torchy’s Tacos CEO GJ Hart retires]

As founder, Rypka took pride in developing a strong company culture and cultivating team members. Now, he suggested, his work will be focused on unit development. According to an announcement, Rypka is excited about working “to bring Torchy’s to more communities so that everyone can experience our passion for made-from-scratch Damn Good Food.”

Torchy’s Tacos operates more than 100 locations in 11 states.

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