Industry News | October 3, 2007

Del Taco Continues Strong Expansion

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No. 2 Mexican quick-serve Del Taco announced today its plans to open seven new restaurants in Tennessee. Restaurant entrepreneurs Gerald and Carol Fulbright, along with their son Thomas, have signed a deal to open four restaurants in Chattanooga while a group of quick-service operators will open three locations over the next four years in the eastern part of Knoxville.

J. Marc Mushkin, vice president of franchising for Sagittarius Restaurants LLC, parent company of California-based Del Taco, expects the new strong franchisees to make the new restaurants successful. “Consumers throughout Tennessee are hungry for something new in the Mexican quick-serve category,” he says. “We expect Del Taco to continue to be well received there.”

The chain is in the midst of an aggressive campaign to grow beyond its southern California roots and this move will add to the three million customers Del Taco already serves each week.

"This is exciting news for us and for fast-food fans looking for a fabulous alternative in Mexican food," says new Chattanooga franchisee Fulbright. "We've long had only one major player in this category and we think there's a market for another--especially one of the caliber of Del Taco."

Knoxville franchisee Constance Durant says Del Taco is appealing as a business because it has the highest sales volume of any Mexican quick-service restaurant. Its average unit volume of nearly $1.2 million is significantly higher than Taco Bell's.

"We found Del Taco to be better and different from anything else out there," Fulbright says. "Likewise, we think lovers of fast-food, especially of the Mexican variety, will find that Del Taco is better and different from anything else that's available."

For more than 40 years, the chain has offered menu items that appeal to a broad range of tastes. Offerings include tacos, burritos, quesadillas and nachos as well as American favorites like hamburgers, fries and milk shakes. Each item is made to order with quality ingredients including lard-free beans made from scratch daily, real cheddar cheese grated on site, chicken grilled fresh every hour, hand-made salsa and fresh produce.