3 Lessons from the death of the "Choco Taco"

Andy Needham

Converge Northeast Regional VP & Associate Director

  • Church strengthening

A national crisis swept social media this summer. Klondike announced the end of production of the classic ice cream treat known as the "Chaco Taco."

An outcry stirred. Anger flowed freely. Why would they kill off such a beloved, iconic summer treat? What an outrage!

Simply put: the Chaco Taco is missing one key component for success: sales. People love the idea of this novelty more than the actual offering. And when Klondike chose to phase it out, the uninvested defenders started to speak loudly.

Sound familiar? 

Consider three timeless lessons from the saga of the Chaco-taco.



Did you know there is a spiritual origin story for the "Chaco Taco?"

“I was on an expedition in Mexico and got separated from my party,” inventor Alan Drazen says. “It was hot. I hadn’t had anything to drink. And then I saw a mirage. An ice cream taco, rising out of the distance. That’s how I got the idea.” 

At one time the Choco Taco was an absolute winner.  Loyalists abounded for the half dome of sugary satisfaction. Slowly over decades interest and investment decreased.

Change can be most challenging when it involves a former smash hit and especially one that has an inspiring genesis. 

What is the "Chaco Taco" of your church? What program, role, event, tradition, or system is beloved but not beneficial? There is no resting on laurels in the Kingdom of God nor the community of faith. 

I've heard it said if you want to know if something is an idol, try to kill it. Whether you anticipate the tide of resistance or are blindsided by a tsunami be careful not to confuse activity for effectiveness or noise for investment



This season in our world provides a clear opportunity to evaluate and reimagine. Healthy churches are never afraid to ask, "what we do if we were starting today from scratch?" While your mission and values remain, recalibrating to meet the moment is critical.

Companies are embracing "Thin-flation." Klondike is asking the hard questions including how many offerings are effective. Do we need so many options? What is making a difference and what are we just keeping afloat?

How have your calendar, serving hours, and budget changed since 2019? We all know that our priorities are revealed in where we invest our time, talent, and treasure.

Find time to zoom out and compare how your current vision, values, and the needs of your community line up with your calendar, volunteer and staff engagement, and funding. Without reallocation of our focus and resources we will only be giving lip service to recalibrating for the future.



Wisdom, discernment, and clear communication are all needed when navigating change. Focus on your values and people. What values below the surface did this program, event, or process offer and how are we going to work to reimagine those priorities? Klondike did not kill ice cream. It shuttered one expression of ice cream. Despite the social media notice summer is not canceled, just the Choco Taco.

Klondike could have quietly discontinued the Chaco Taco and perhaps few would have noticed. Instead, they decided to announce it. While there was risk, it also allowed people to talk, remember, and process. Sometimes it is not a program that needs to change but a person. Someone who should be honored but also cannot hold hostage the future of the church just because of their history in a role.

When sincere, turning a transition or ending into a time to honor and celebrate the past or recognize a leader and honor them can be a helpful step forward. Never forget that we all stand on the shoulders of men and women of remarkable faith.



Even as we draw lessons from the eternally insignificant death of the Chaco Taco, we remember that our purpose as the local church is not the same as Klondike. We are not merely improving our balance sheet for investors. We are glorifying God, proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and making disciples. Let us never forget that and never stop reminding our people of why we are who we are. We'll all scream for that.

(Photo: Klondikebar.com)

Andy Needham, Converge Northeast Regional VP & Associate Director

Andy Needham is a New England native who has spent the past two decades serving in ministry roles from church leadership, to nationally touring worship artist, to launching and leading conferences. He is the Associate Director for Converge Northeast, working to start and strengthen churches throughout the Northeast and beyond.

Additional articles by Andy Needham