According to a report one week ago in Nation’s Restaurant News, Baja Fresh has acquired the Calbi truck.
The new franchised truck made its debut this past weekend at the West Coast Franchise Expo in Los Angeles.
Astute readers will remember that there was some controversy with Calbi when it comes to their version of Korean tacos.
As NRN notes:
The first version of the truck was often seen as very similar in color design to the Kogi truck.
To dispel confusion, Lee said the Calbi truck has a new design and logo that he said would further distinguish the brand as something entirely different from Kogi — aside from the common theme of Korean-Mexican food.
Alice Shin, a spokeswoman for Kogi, declined to comment on Calbi’s franchising plans, except to note that members of the Kogi team did not help Calbi get its start, as had been reported by some food bloggers. “We’ve never had a working relationship with Calbi,” she said.
Shin also said Kogi officials currently have no plans to franchise.
However, despite while Shin says that they’ve never worked with Calbi, Kogi blogged that they had in fact worked with the folks behind Calbi, before it even was Calbi, to help get them set up. Initially, Kogi had a blog post (now deleted) saying that they’d helped out:
It was so successfuL, in fact, that the owner approached us for more joint business pLans — but it just was a littLe too much, too fast. PLus, we’re of the nomadic sort, so we’re a bit wary of tattooing ourseLves with a partnership after just 2 weeks of a joint project. So we parted ways… onLy to find out that about a month or so later, these same peopLe compLeteLy copied our “business modeL” from the inside out, even going so far as taking the recipes that Chef Roy had so graciousLy made for them and seLLing them on a newLy stickered truck, trying to mimic the spirit of our bLog posts, starting up their own Twitter feed and using our past coLLaboration to heLp themseLves in their new endeavors. ALso… parking at the exact locations and cross streets that we park at.
It is understandabLe that some of the team members — weLL yes, feeL duped — but more than that, they feeL emotionaLLy gutted. We invited these peopLe into our famiLy and they took advantage of us. Whether it’s to compete with us or it’s because they don’t have the confidence to work with what they know and what they’ve got, I don’t know.
All I do know is that some of the team members feeL reaLLy hurt and betrayed, for had they onLy asked — had they just said, “Yo! We want to start up our own truck too. Can you heLp us?”, we totaLLy wouLd have given them a heLping hand in that direction.
Plus, it’s also important to note that Baja Fresh has tried their line of of Korean burritos before — calling them first Kogi, and later Gogi Burritos.
So, is this now the real mainstreaming of Korean tacos?