Mission Yogurt, Inc. and its subsidiary companies own and operate food and beverage concepts primarily in high-traffic airports, including Denver, San Diego and Norman Y. Mineta San José International Airports. With more than a quarter century of experience, Mission operates a wide range of concepts, including fast food, fast casual and full-service restaurants and bars.
Mission believes in taking a hands-on approach customized to each location and market. The company’s portfolio includes nationally recognized brands, local chef-driven outposts, and original proprietary concepts. Mission is committed to using all-natural meats and organic produce whenever possible to offer low fat, vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options and to operate with the environment in mind. This includes composting, recycling, and utilizing repurposed décor at many of its restaurants. Mission believes it is imperative to meet travelers’ demands for higher-quality food sources and environmental sustainability.
Mission Yogurt, Inc. is a certified Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) and is one of Colorado’s fastest growing companies, employing more than 700 people. In the past three years, Mission’s sales have steadily climbed, and in 2014, sales reached an all-time high with 30 percent year-over-year growth. From Mission’s humble beginning with one frozen yogurt location in Arvada, Colorado to now operating 18 successful concepts, Mission’s goals remain the same: maintain steady growth, develop the best team in the industry, and provide an elite customer experience to travelers.
Rod Tafoya has nearly 30 years of experience in the restaurant business, including more than 25 at the helm of Mission Yogurt. From an early age, Tafoya had a connection to, and fascination with, airports. As a child, his mother worked at Denver’s Stapleton International Airport, and his father was an engineer for the city of Denver. It wasn’t until after he graduated with an MBA from UCLA, received a B.S. in Engineering from Johns Hopkins University and held a marketing position at IBM, however, that he considered a career connection.
In 1985, Tafoya set his sights on opening a cookie business at Stapleton Airport, and decided to make a bid for space there. While he was not selected for a contract due to lack of experience, four years later, he successfully broke into the restaurant business when he purchased an Arvada Penguin’s Frozen Yogurt franchise in Arvada, Colorado.
After cutting his teeth in the restaurant business for nearly a decade, Tafoya opened Sara Lee Sandwich Shoppe and Colombo Yogurt in Denver International Airport (DEN), when it commenced operations in 1995. Soon after, Rod continued to grow at DEN and opened DEN’s first authentic Mexican restaurant, Que Bueno, the busiest Einstein Bros Bagels franchise location in the nation, and the highest grossing restaurant measured by sales at DEN, Timberline Steaks and Grille. Rod’s steady growth quickly led to different operations in other high traffic airports beyond Colorado, including San Diego and San Jose International Airports. Looking into the future, Rod’s goals for Mission Yogurt remain the same, to provide steady growth, develop the best team in the industry, and provide an elite customer experience to the traveling public.