After Taco Bell dropped its entire 2024 menu plan like it was a new iPhone release, you’d suppose the chain wouldn’t be too apprehensive about being upstaged by its competitors. However in accordance with a new report from Restaurant Dive, there’s an underdog within the quick meals taco house able to problem Taco Bell’s nationwide footprint: Del Taco has introduced main growth plans and has its sights set on supremacy.

For these outdoors the Southern and Western areas of the nation, Del Taco is much like Taco Bell in that it provides a largely Tex-Mex (or “Mexican-inspired”) menu. However Del Taco has far fewer places, with just below 600 U.S. shops in 16 states, versus Taco Bell’s 8,000 nationwide. It’s an imbalance Del Taco seemingly hopes to deal with, because the chain signed 138 new franchise offers in 2023.

Along with rising its variety of places, Del Taco can also be increasing into new markets. Of the 138 new agreements, 52 are in Florida, and agreements had been signed to open places in Texas, Montana, and Wyoming. The chain additionally has plans to increase in California, Nevada, Georgia, and South Carolina, and its first places in North Carolina and Virginia are slated to open this 12 months.

“[We’ll] proceed to actually exploit the Southeast as a result of it’s the fastest-growing a part of the U.S. and Florida is the fastest-growing state,” Van Ingram, Del Taco’s VP of franchise growth, told Restaurant Dive. “It is sensible. And there’s numerous pent-up demand for a model like Del Taco. … We will go on the market and compete with a model chief like Taco Bell.”

The similarities between Del Taco’s and Taco Bell’s menu choices are plain. Each menus embrace burritos, the selection of soppy or hard-shelled tacos, nachos, quesadillas—even the desserts are related. Del Taco usually leans extra into the Mexican parts of its Mexican-inspired menu, with choices like tamales and fresh guacamole, however at different occasions it appears to comply with Taco Bell’s lead with objects just like the Crunchtada, which appears to be like an terrible lot like a Mexican Pizza.

For those who zero in on every restaurant’s breakfast menu, you’ll see siblings separated at delivery: Taco Bell provides a Tacky Toasted Breakfast Burrito with Bacon that comprises egg, whereas Del Taco provides breakfast burrito stuffed with scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, a zesty crimson sauce, and selection of crispy bacon or carne asada steak (which Taco Bell additionally occurs to supply as a separate menu merchandise). However Del Taco additionally has a aspect of its menu that Taco Bell has but to discover, which is conventional quick meals fare like burgers, fries, and salads. Taco Bell could also be doing an entire lot Más with its menu in 2024, however with a various menu of requirements, Del Taco is nipping at its heels.

This article originally appeared on The Takeout.


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