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Hit By Pandemic Months After Opening, Taylor's Tacos Finds Way To Pull Through At The Hatchery Business Incubator

CHICAGO (CBS) -- With even companies with deep pockets hurting during the economic crisis pandemic, imagine being a business that just launched.

A team of taco makers on the city's West Side have had to pivot and pivot again just to stay afloat. They walked CBS 2's Tim McNicholas through their creative approach, and how they're doing it alongside other new business owners.

After a year like this one, we could all use a taco or two. The owners of Taylors's Tacos gave McNicholas a tour of their kitchen – where he saw some different spices and salsas over owner Taylor Mason's shoulder.

"Oh yeah, we've got to get that off camera," she said. "We can't give out our secrets."

But it was testament to the fact that they work in tight quarters – tight enough that McNicholas did not actually go into the kitchen. The tour was virtual, and then Mason met him outside for an interview.

"I run the company with my beautiful wife Maya," Mason said. "Authentic street style tacos with a whole lot of soul."

The couple rents the place at The Hatchery, a hub for new food entrepreneurs at 135 N. Kedzie Ave. in the East Garfield Park neighborhood.

Taylor's Tacos just moved there in late 2019 with the plan to run a popup catering business. They used to serve their food at parties and local bars.

But of course, the world changed drastically within a few months.

"It was kind of the scariest time ever for our business," Mason said.

It was sink-or-swim for Taylor and Maya, so they added pickup and delivery options on Taco Tuesday.

"It was kind of what kept our business afloat," Mason said. "If we hadn't switched over to pickup and delivery, we probably would have been one of the many businesses that had closed down."

The Hatchery is no stranger to pivots. It is full of startups that have revamped their business models.

Organizers of the incubators say some businesses have put their dreams on hold until after the pandemic, but some others have even seen growth.

"W we immediately pivoted to online classes so people could, you know, continue to learn and grow their business, even from home," said Alex Horton of The Hatchery. "We offered rent credits and rent relief to businesses."

"We have to be able to withstand anything," Mason added.

And as much as they have enjoyed working at The Hatchery, Taylor's Tacos is hoping to expand into their own space. They say that is a day that will taste bittersweet.

Taylor's Tacos says even after the pandemic is over, they will keep their pickup and delivery services.

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