Mexican Restaurant Begins Review

DALLAS Taco Cabana is in the early stages of a review for its estimated $8 million creative advertising account, sources said.

Last month incumbent McGarrah/Jessee in Austin, Texas, resigned the business.

The San Antonio-based dining chain recently sent requests for proposals to shops around the country and is now reviewing responses, sources said.

Consultant Peter Mitchell in Dallas is managing the review, sources said.

Independent McGarrah/Jessee won the account in January 2002. It picked up the estimated $10 million creative business of Whataburger in April. That business did not represent a conflict, agency principal Mark McGarrah said, but soon after the shop resigned the Taco Cabana business due to “management changes” at the Mexican food chain.

“It’s unlike us to resign a piece of business when we have such a good relationship but there were some management changes in December,” McGarrah said. “As an agency we have a strategy of holistic branding, where we don’t just do advertising, and we saw those changes as being in conflict with our strategy of holistic branding and that could potentially affect our relationship over time.”

McGarrah would not comment on specific management changes. In January, however, industry consultant John Haywood joined parent Carrols Corp. as chief concept officer for Taco Cabana, Pollo Tropical and TropiGrill.

Media Rare Co. in Pflugerville, Texas, handles media, which is not expected to be included in the review.

Taco Cabana has restaurants in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Georgia and Indiana. Syracuse, N.Y.-based Carrols is the top Burger King franchisee in the U.S.

The client could not be reached for comment.

This story updates a previously posted item.