Tuscon Truck Terminal Wins for the Best Breakfast in Tuscon

For Omar’s Hi-Way Chef Restaurant at the Tucson Truck Terminal in Tucson, Arizona, emerging the champion in the Caliente’s Breakfast Madness contest not only means the location can boast for having the best breakfast in Tucson, it also means more and more people are hearing about the location. As a result, business is booming.

The contest, which was run by The Tucson Daily Star newspaper, ran for five weeks with competitors being knocked out each week. Omar Ramirez, the restaurant’s executive chef and general manager, said each round brought more exposure for the location.

“As the contest started to progress, we started getting a lot of new customers. Even our slow days got busy because we had this new group of people saying they’d read about us and wanted to see what was so good,” Ramirez said. “Starting the Thursday we won, we’ve had the busiest week we’ve ever had. We’ve seen a 20 to 25 percent increase in business mostly on weekends, and we still have our regular truckers.”

Ramirez took winning seriously. The competition started out with 92 new restaurants and readers voted each week. “We made fliers and table tents and had meetings with all of the staff telling them how important it would be to win the competition,” Ramirez said.

Staff even took time to visit the tables and ask customers to vote. Sometimes they had an iPad on hand so the customer could vote on the spot. Word of mouth helped, too. “Our general customers that come in all of the time and our truck driver base got motivated and they told their friends. We really got this thing going,” Ramirez said.

“By the last round, we were 415 points ahead of the competition.”

Ramirez kept tabs on how his competition was doing, and stopped by for breakfast to check out their strategy. “Some were telling their customers that they were in the contest and other people blew it off. I said, ‘Man, they’re missing the bandwagon in advertising.’”

Although Ramirez employed a strategy to win the competition, he couldn’t have won without a stellar breakfast offering. The restaurant offers an extensive breakfast menu that is served 24 hours a day.

The location takes pride in its food, and one of the best sellers is the dish called Omar’s Favorite. “It is three cheese enchiladas covered with shredded beef, three eggs to your liking, covered with cheddar jack cheese and served with rice and beans, chips and salsa and a tortilla.

In addition to a strong breakfast menu, the restaurant has a full lunch and dinner menu. Some items, such as their deep-dish apple pie dessert, have garnered them a spot on the Travel Channel’s “Food Paradise” series and The Food Network’s “Top 5.”

Ramirez said the win made him feel good. “We were going against big corporations that had multi-units and some had six or seven restaurants in town,” he said. “People still recognize the Triple T as being one of the best restaurants in the truckstop world. It makes me feel proud.”

 

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This article originally ran in Stop Watch magazineStop Watch provides in-depth content to assist NATSO members in improving their travel plaza business operations.

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Mindy Long's photo

Mindy Long

Before launching a full-time freelance career, Long edited NATSO's Stop Watch magazine. Prior to that Long worked as a staff reporter for Transport Topics, a weekly trade newspaper, covering freight transportation, fuel and environmental issues. In addition to covering the transportation sector, Long has written, reported and edited for a variety of media outlets. She was the Washington correspondent for WCAX-TV (CBS) in Burlington, Vt., a criminal court reporter in Chicago and a freelance copy editor for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine in Washington D.C. Long hold a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, Ill., and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Westminster College in Salt Lake City.More
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Stop Watch Magazine

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