Industry News | June 11, 2001

Del Taco Exec Becomes Franchisee

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For the past three years, Del Taco's Paul Hitzelberger has been instrumental in taking the 35-year-old brand to new territories and new customers as he oversaw an aggressive franchise program.

Today, Del Taco announced that Hitzelberger, executive vice president of franchising and franchise relations, will become one of its largest franchisees -- taking over the entire Utah territory of eight existing restaurants and completing a five year development agreement to build six more.

In his 14 years with the company, Hitzelberger bridged the gap between the company's former management leveraged with GE Capital and the turnaround headed by chairman and CEO Kevin K. Moriarty. Hitzelberger also headed marketing and product research and develpment where he focused the chain's brand message on value, quality and taste.

"No one knows the Del Taco brand and its value better than Paul ," said Kevin K. Moriarty, chairman and CEO of Del Taco, Inc. "He is like the guy who loves the food so much he buys the whole restaurant. In this case, he is getting eight, with plans for six more."

For Hitzelberger, the desire to be an entrepreneur has been a longtime force and the opportunity has never been better for him and his wife of 35-years, Jane. Jane, a CPA with a background in administration, brings the corporate structure expertise to their new venture.

"Jane is as excited as I am. The Del Taco brand is strong in Utah. There isn*Äôt a better brand in this category. I'm looking forward to using all of my experience in growing our Del Taco business in Utah," said Hitzelberger.

"The upcoming Winter Olympics provides a tremendous opportunity to introduce our taste and value to an even broader audience. The timing couldn't be better," he added.

Del Taco is a privately held company that operates, or franchises, 380 Mexican quick service restaurants throughout the United States of America.