HIYA Taco opened in August 2020 with the intention of creating a quick-service concept that would be simple to operate and cost-effective for future growth. The Milwaukee, Wisconsin restaurant opened its doors during the height of the pandemic, facing increased dining restrictions and a nationwide hiring shortage.

“It’s difficult to find skilled cooks, and most of our staff is very young and working their first jobs,” said Matt Roman López, director of operations at Toro Toro Toro, Inc. “We needed a system that could simplify our prep and process while also helping us differentiate ourselves.”

With shifting consumer preferences for quality food at quick-service times, López searched for an equipment solution that could help fulfill orders in under 3 minutes while guaranteeing consistent, fresh tacos every time.  

“We wanted our food to be more than scoop and serve,” López said. “We wanted our guests to see us cooking from scratch on the line, but we needed to speed up the process.”

 The solution was Alto-Shaam’s Cook-Chill System. HIYA Taco is able to cook steak, pork loin, beans and more using two stacked Combitherm® combi ovens. The food is then rapidly chilled down with their QuickChiller™ blast chiller and stored in their walk-in coolers. Then, the food is heated to order on a flat top grill, significantly speeding up service and providing a front-of-the-house presentation.

“This system is really impressive because the quality of food is frozen in time,” López says. “Food comes off the grill so fresh and juicy—it’s as if it just came out of the oven. It’s the future of cooking.”

With all recipe settings programmed in their combi ovens and QuickChillers, Hiya Taco’s staff can focus on their customers during peak service—taking the stress out of cooking and guaranteeing menu consistency.

“Our chef innovates really amazing dishes that blow you away, but it was a challenge to execute his menu consistently,” López said. “With programmable settings, all we have to do is train our staff to press a button, and his vision is tasted with every taco that comes out.”

Additionally, the self-cleaning functionality of the Combitherm oven also helps increase the efficiency of HIYA Taco’s kitchen.

 “I love this equipment,” López said. “The cleaning functionality is so easy, and the equipment itself is technically advanced without being too advanced. It knows its user. Nothing is overly complicated, and it’s so user-friendly for our staff.”

To learn how to implement a Cook-Chill System for quick service restaurants, read our guide.

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