The 1990s was the time when the Philippines got hit by the great Mexican craze. Out of the blue, anything Mexican became "in"--from telenovelas and Latino and Latina singers to food spiced with jalapeño peppers. Indeed, this fascination with things Mexican was what inspired entrepreneurs Teddy Manotoc and Michael Singh to put up Nacho King.
Manotoc and Singh, who had both studied abroad and had both seen the market potential of Mexican food, put up less than P50,000 in startup capital and opened their first Nacho King cart at SM North EDSA in Quezon City in 1994. They initially targeted moviegoers looking for a convenient, easy-to-eat snack.
Nacho King immediately became so popular for its authentic Mexican-style nachos, tacos, and salsa that the company started franchising the business hardly a year later. Nachos are tortilla chips topped with melted cheese and other savory toppings such as hot peppers or refried beans; tacos are fried tortilla folded or rolled and stuffed with a mixture of seasoned meat, cheese, and lettuce; and salsa is a spicy sauce of tomatoes, onions, and hot peppers.
By 2004, there were as many as 150 Nacho King carts all over the country. They came in several variants: mall-operated stalls, small-kiosk types, even bicycle-mounted stores.
In early 2000, the company pursued an aggressive expansion program, putting up separate stand-alone restaurants called Tortilla Fusion at Greenbelt 1 in Makati City and at Robinsons Galleria in Quezon City.
But a series of adverse developments stalled Nacho King’s expansion. First was the continuing increase in mall rentals; it hit the company so hard because mall-operated franchises formed the bulk of the company’s outlets at the time.