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Taco John’s Taps Heather Neary as President and CEO to Usher in New Era of Growth for Popular Quick-Service Mexican Food Franchise

CHEYENNE, Wyo., March 20, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Mexican quick-service restaurant staple Taco John’s® proudly welcomes industry veteran Heather Neary to the executive leadership team as President and Chief Executive Officer.

Neary brings more than two decades of relevant restaurant, brand, and franchise leadership experience to her new role, most recently as the Brand President at KBP Brands, a large QSR Franchisee. She joins Taco John’s as the company accelerates its expansion throughout the Midwest and beyond, with new locations planned in existing and new territories in coming years. 

“Heather’s strategic vision, energy, and proven track record of driving growth, customer experience metrics, and brand presence at the national franchise level made her the unmatched choice to lead Taco John’s to the next level of expansion and success. We’re thrilled to welcome Heather to the Taco John’s family as we grow into the next decade together bigger, bolder, better,” said Gerard Lewis, Chairman of the Taco John’s International Board of Directors.

Neary began her restaurant career with the international pretzel franchise Auntie Anne’s, culminating in the role of Brand President at a time when it was the largest brand in Focus Brands’ portfolio (now GoTo Foods). With a commitment to achieving excellence through driving operational efficiency and fostering a “people-first” culture of collaboration and empowerment, gross sales grew to over $550 million during her five-year tenure. Similarly while at KBP Brands, she gained continued experience guiding organizations and teams through high growth, while achieving increased profitability and stability.

“Taco John’s has built a rich history and a passionate following around delicious food, innovation, and a commitment to excellence. I am honored to join this motivated and talented team at such an exciting time in the company’s journey,” said Neary.

Neary has been an active member of the International Franchise Association, and has served on the board of directors for the National Restaurant Association, and the Women’s Foodservice Forum. She also serves on the board of directors for Essential Property Realty Trust (NYSE: EPRT), as well as on the board of advisors for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. With Pennsylvania roots, Neary is a Millersville University graduate and holds an MBA from Penn State’s Smeal College of Business, where she was honored with an Alumni Achievement Award.

Neary assumes the role from former CEO Jim Creel, who retired from his position after more than two decades fueling the chain to become one of the largest Mexican quick-service restaurant brands in the country with unmatched dedication to quality and efficiency.

About Taco John’s®
Founded in 1969 in Cheyenne, Wyoming, Taco John’s® has been serving bigger. bolder. better. flavors for more than 55 years. Now, Taco John’s operates and franchises nearly 400 restaurants in 23 states – making it one of the largest Mexican quick-service restaurant brands in America. Taco John’s features signature specials like Taco Tuesday since 1989 and everyday value starting at $2, $3 and $4 on the ValuEST Menu. With bold originals like Potato Olés®, Taco John’s knows how to Olé The Day. Taco John’s prides itself on serving generous portions of its signature menu items that are made-to-order using fresh, high-quality ingredients, seasonings and sauces. The brand was listed on Entrepreneur’s “Top Food Franchises of 2023” under the “Mexican Food” category and was recently recognized by QSR Magazine as a “Top 15 Chain Ready to Contend as Fast Food’s Top Players.” For more information, visit and follow Taco John’s on FacebookInstagramTwitter and TikTok.

Press Contact
Joshua Levitt
Media for Taco John’s

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

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