West to East: Del Taco’s expansion goes nationwide

Del Taco recently rebranded itself with an advertising campaign dubbed “UnFreshing Believable,” just in time for its 50th anniversary. Its stores have also been redesigned, and across the board, the brand is re-committing itself to providing fresh ingredients as it undergoes an aggressive nationwide expansion in 2015.

There are now nearly 550 Del Taco locations in 16 states, with a strong existing brand presence in the West. “Our growth is focused on continuing to fill in new stores opening in the West, as well as growing new development in the South, Southeast, Midwest, and the lower Northeast,” says Laura Tanaka, director of franchise development at Del Taco.

About 45 percent of Del Taco’s restaurants are franchised. “Because Del Taco operates 304 company stores, we are more concerned about the bottom-line profit like our franchise partners, not just top-line sales like 90 percent of franchise systems, who make their money on collecting royalty,” Tanaka says. “We believe in our brand; we make money off of operations; we test and prove ROI of new items in our own stores before asking franchise partners to spend their money.” Del Taco’s strategy includes opening corporate stores first in new markets, then filling in the territory with franchise development.

This year brings considerable opportunity for growth in the brand’s fast-growing quick-serve Mexican food category. “We’re proud to report that our franchisees are seeing consistent returns, well above current industry standards,” Tanaka says. “Our steady sales growth is a direct reflection of our talented franchise partners and our ability to work ahead of the trends in order to provide products unlike anything else offered in our industry.”

Del Taco is looking for franchisees, as individuals or groups, who are interested in opening at least two stores with the brand over a two to three-year period. They must have access to at least $500,000 in liquid capital and have a combined minimum net worth of $1 million. Someone on the team of investors also must have experience in the restaurant or retail industry and be able to properly oversee day-to-day operations.

Once a new franchisee is on board, Del Taco provides the team with five weeks of management training at a corporate store and one week in a classroom at the corporate office. The company sends teams into the field to train crews before the opening, and has teams on the ground during the first grand opening and beyond, all aimed at helping new franchisees succeed. “Our motto is, ‘One Team, One Voice, One Partnership,’” says Tanaka—and the company makes every effort to practice what it preaches.

Del Taco also supports franchisees by assigning them franchise business consultants. Beyond the opening, the consultants offer feedback and business advice on best practices. “We are in this together with our franchisees,” Tanaka says. 

For more information about franchising opportunities with Del Taco, visit www.deltaco.com