You’ve probably noticed recently that all of our beloved Beto’s restaurants have been changing their names to Rancherito’s. You may have also noticed the signs that say “Same food, same management/owners, new name!” You may have also noticed that the signs look exactly the same (as Beto’s and every other Mexican food chain that uses that generic sign), just with a different name. If you’re like me, you’ve of course tried the food and realized that it really is the same. So why the change?

Well, as far as this internet (and all of the others I’ve tried) will tell me, no one knows the answer. So, with my expert knowledge of Beto’s, I’ve come to the conclusion myself.

Hint #1: All Beto’s are not created equal
The Provo Beto’s was my first exposure, but since I’ve moved to SLC, I’ve tried several other locations. They’re not all the same. Not only is the Provo Beto’s by far the dirtiest location, the menus look different and some of the menu items are tastier than they are at other locations (probably due to the excess dirt).

Example: The downtown SLC Beto’s is not good. The Beto’s by Jason‘s work is good. Don’t ask me why. I don’t get it.

My conclusion from this, however, is that Beto’s is a franchise, and that the individual franchise owners have some freedom as far as how much awesome and how much dirt to put in their restaurants. I know that it’s not that surprising of a conclusion since so many food chains are organized that way, but it is important.

Hint #2: Mexi-Burrito
The Beto’s by my work in Holladay also changed its name recently. Like the others, it has a sign claiming that the owners and the food are the same, but unlike the others it changed its name to Mexi-Burrito. It’s incredibly clever. I’m not sure how they came up with it. The real question, though, is why did this one change its name to something different than the other locations?

Surprise Twist Ending
Here’s how I think things played out:

Rancherito’s really did buy out Beto’s. While the corporation did change owners, the individual franchise owners didn’t change, so that’s how they’re justified in putting up a sign claiming that they have the “same owners”. When the ownership of the corporation changed, some of the franchise owners (like the one in Holladay) opted not to renew their franchise fee with the new company, and they’re now independent. They’re also justified in their sign, because they are still the owners of their businesses. Since all Beto’s were not the same in the first place, they don’t have to change their food to match the new not-sameness, so all of the locations keep their same menu regardless of how the franchise identity has changed.

There it is. Mystery solved.