Fish tacos: a fresh LBO idea

Many of our European readers can be forgiven for having not heard of fish tacos because, truth be told, possibly 70 percent to 80 percent of our North American readers are similarly and sadly unaware of this great culinary innovation.

We mention fish tacos because the most famous purveyor of this delicacy recently received an offer to be taken private by a private equity firm. Rubio's Restaurants (in San Diego, California, just say “Rubio's”, and a local will point you in the right direction) last month was approached by Beverly Hills buyout firm Levine Leichtman Capital Partners about a take-private, valuing the company at roughly $80 million.

Buyouts are supposed to focus on companies that consistently sell their products through economic cycles. Customers in San Diego County or the four other Western US states with Rubio's restaurants will testify that only a societal collapse would prevent them from frequenting a delicious Rubio's fish taco. The magic recipe calls for strips of white fish to be battered and fried golden brown, then wrapped in a soft corn tortilla and topped with a yoghurt-mayonnaise sauce, raw chopped cabbage, salsa and a squirt of lime juice. Cold beer is the recommended accompanying beverage.

If successful, new owner Levine Leichtman will not need to spend a single dollar on R&D because these tacos are already state-of-the-art. Do you sense a bias in our reporting?