KC Ueberroth: The journey from corporate to carnitas


Credit: Tina Su

“I’ve learned that good people act the same in all environments,” Yo Boca Taco owner KC Ueberroth said. “They’re good with their friends, they’re good with their business, they behave the same always. I think the one thing that [Yo Boca Taco] does well is behave well. We have a really good vision and pillars.”

Tina Su, Penelope Biddle, and Hallie Luo

From the outside, it’s your average fuel fix. On the inside, however, the gas station houses the aroma of fresh tortillas and homemade sauces, the authentic products of Yo Boca Taco. Owner Kyle Christopher, or KC, Ueberroth bought the Gulf gas station located on Route 20 in Wayland on June 1, 2022, and he began his experience in the food industry by opening a taco joint inside the gas station.

“I lived in California and the West Coast my whole life minus college,” Ueberroth said. “Out there, Mexican food is a huge part of life. In the West Coast, if you go down the street, three out of 10 restaurants are gonna be Mexican. For me, that was a wakeup call like “’Oh, that’s not really [how it is] here.’”

While Ueberroth has a love for Latin culture, he started the unpredictable business as an inexperienced entrepreneur.

“When I started, I did not know what was gonna happen,” Ueberroth said. “A lot of people told me that [opening a taco place] was not a good idea and said that people on the East Coast don’t really like Mexican food.”

Ueberroth bought the unique location as a business venture. He viewed the business as a place to work and earn money when he first moved from the West coast, all while still being able to be with his children .

“I am a divorced, single dad of four and when we moved out here, I had had a whole other life as a C-level executive at a family business,” Ueberroth said. “I was part of a family that had some notoriety in the West Coast, but here I’m anonymous, and I like it. I had enough money saved up to buy the gas station, so I did it.”

However, as the owner of the gas station, Ueberroth was unhappy with being uninvolved. He didn’t own the land, and he knew that he wanted to create his own operation. Ueberroth began doing his own research by walking into chains like Dunkin’ and asking how the employees work in the business. He realized that similar businesses were extremely successful.

“They make three, four hundred thousand dollars a year,” Ueberroth said. “I figured out how to get these businesses inside of the gas station. To get Dunkin’ inside is a very expensive proposition. It could be seven, eight hundred thousand dollars, so you don’t really make money for years.”

Ueberroth began brainstorming possible alternatives. Since he gets such a diverse group of people in the gas station everyday, he met many people in the food business who could give him pointers and suggestions. While Ueberroth got many ideas from others, he soon realized that very few wanted to get involved. To Ueberroth, this was a sign that he needed to do it himself.

“Everything ended up being built by me, by hand,” Ueberroth said. “Though I had a good idea, it required me to take the investment on myself. It required me to design it, so I learned how to design a layout and work with the city. I learned how to work with the health department because it’s really strict with food, and I learned how to do my own marketing. It became a super empowering, do-it-yourself experiment.”

Despite Ueberroth’s elite education and highly ranking jobs, he believes that this experience taught him the most. He graduated from Wake Forest University, worked as a vice president for Wells Fargo and became a CMO for his family business.

“Starting this business has been a really powerful experience to figure out what you can do on your own,” Ueberroth said. “I had a lot of people who intimidated me and said that I wasn’t ready. I’ll also be honest: if I were to ask every entrepreneur, they would say the same thing, the belief in yourself is the hardest hurdle. No one will believe in you. You have to believe.”

Not only did he learn a lot about logistics and his own tenacity, Ueberroth developed culturally as well. Through the hiring process, he found that the only employees that stuck were Latinx, and some employees didn’t speak English.

“I learned [Spanish] in school and then went abroad for six months, but that’s not [being] fluent,” Ueberroth said. “When I came back, I was still terrified to have conversations, but I learned a lot about the socioeconomics of it all.”

Ueberroth’s main goal with Yo Boca Taco was to keep it simple, flavorful and affordable. And the establishment does just that. Ingrid, one of four hired employees at Yo Boca Taco, makes all of the sauces with an authentic recipe. The uniqueness of Yo Boca Taco lies heavily in its location being inside of a gas station.

“I like that it’s in a gas station,” junior Annika Martins said. “Every time I go in to get some snacks, I can also just pick up some tacos, it’s like a win-win.”

Ueberroth has mixed feelings about whether or not to stay in gas stations or expand to other locations.

“[The location is] definitely good because you get a built-in audience,” Ueberroth said. “That’s the best part. Most businesses struggle with how to get someone to show up and experience it. I’m blessed. In a day, I’ll get 250, 300 people here on average. The disadvantage is I do watch people think that because it’s in a gas station, the food can’t be good.”

Some students are hesitant to try the taco joint, as they believe its location inside of a gas station makes it unreliable.

“I was hesitant at first to try it,” junior Tasha Janoff said. “But I went once with people who had already had it, and I don’t regret giving it a chance.”

Ueberroth has many ambitious ideas, including adding a mobile component to reach even more people, especially students at Wayland High School.

“I have this idea [called] ‘Yo-Peds’ or ‘Yo On The Go,’” Ueberroth said. “It would be neat for the high school to have a miniature trailer or food truck that comes up and parks somewhere nearby. I’m trying to let students know we understand they only have one hour a day, driving is tough and they want to get in and out of campus.”

Ueberroth emphasizes that his goal with Yo Boca Taco is not to make money but to one day give the company away to young entrepreneurs interested in pursuing a career in the food industry. Giving back to the community is one of Ueberroth’s major values.

“I would love to give people the chance to pursue entrepreneurship because it’s super empowering,” Ueberroth said. “I would say that my life is significantly better since I’ve done this. I’m super involved in the community. I do kinder things all the time, I’m able to be generous all the time. It’s a different style of game, but it’s way more fun.”

Running Yo Boca Taco has shaped Ueberroth’s life for the better. And, he has a few pieces of advice.

“If you are pretty resilient, it is one of the most amazing things ever, and the game changes from checkers to chess,” Ueberroth said. “Instead of twelve moves, there are 12,000 moves, and they are supremely fun and it’s enriching and empowering.”