Special Report

Mexican

The nation's top Mexican concepts.

The No. 1 and 2 brands could not be more different in this segment. Taco Bell officials call them “sales layers,” the departures from business-as-usual for the Big Tamale of Yum! Brands’ portfolio. The chain bid for the health-minded by trumpeting a Drive-Thru Diet Menu and, more recently, it’s expanded tests of breakfast and tinkered with a do-it-yourself taco bar that feeds four for $14.99. Management hints that more menu departures may be on the way.

On the other hand, there’s Chipotle, where about every fourth new restaurant this year will feature the A Model format, designed specifically for Tier 2 trade areas. Translation: It’s going after not-so-perfect sites with a smaller, lower-cost prototype. That thrust will lower the average cost per restaurant to $800,000 from $900,000. Meanwhile, the burrito specialist is investigating in an expansion of its sales day by testing breakfast, starting with an airport location.

Segment
Rank
2010
QSR 50
Rank
Chain U.S.
Systemwide
Sales ’09
(millions)
U.S.
Average
Annual
Sales Per
Unit ’09
(Thousands)
Franchised/
Licensed
Units ’09
Company-
Owned
Units ’09
Total
Units ’09
    Mexican          
1 6 Taco Bell2 $6,800.0 $1,229.0 4,308 1,296 5,604
2 21 Chipotle $1,500.0 $1,728.0 0 956 956
3 37 Del Taco $568.0 $1,100.0 231 287 518
4 46 Qdoba $434.8 $905.0 353 157 510
5 53 Moe’s Southwest Grill* $321.2 $895.0 401 4 405
6 58 Baja Fresh Mexican Grill* $300.0 $1,070.0 135 135 270
7 60 Taco John’s* $277.5 $1,350.0 410 10 420
8 64 Taco Bueno $201.3 $1,100.0 24 162 186