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Martial Arts, Tacos and Margaritas: Justin Hall’s Career in Franchising

By Raj Prashad

Eight years ago, Justin Hall was driving around Dallas, Texas when a bold, yellow Rusty Taco sign caught his eye. Visiting from Albuquerque, New Mexico, Hall was intrigued, so he stopped in to see what the brand’s famous street-style tacos and margaritas were all about.

“I own a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy, so I would go to Dallas 3-4 times a year and Rusty Taco became the go-to place for me,” Hall said. “The food was so good and reasonably priced, and I actually had no idea there was more than one for like five years.”

That was until Hall and his wife were in Denver and they happened to pass the Westminster location while on vacation.

“Immediately we pulled off the road and I was like, ‘We have to check this out,'” Hall said. “So we pulled in and I asked the manager if it was a franchise and if so, how I could get more information. I didn’t know anything about the restaurant industry, just owned my martial arts school. But I knew I wanted to be involved in Rusty Taco.

“At the time, Rusty Taco didn’t exist in Albuquerque, which I thought was weird because Albuquerque has great traditional taco places. We never had anything like this at all and I felt like this concept would be a great fit in Albuquerque.”

Using connections, he’d made through his martial arts, Hall worked with a business partner who had prior restaurant experience and they opened their first of two Rusty Taco locations in October 2018.

“Our experience with Rusty Taco and Inspire has been great,” Hall said. “I know at any time I can call Denise Fenton, the Brand Director and Co-Founder of Rusty Taco. I even spoke to her recently because we’re considering expanding our business.

“Then the collaborative mindset of the brand is something I’m really grateful for. Corporate wants its franchisees to think about new ideas and share them, and that’s something I really appreciate. I have such a love and affinity for Rusty Taco, I probably spend 95 percent of my time between all of our restaurants in a Rusty. And I’m so encouraged by the potential this brand has as we continue to grow.”

To learn more about franchising with Rusty Taco, visit