In spite of outperforming big-name competitor Taco Bell, the 583-unit chain is entertaining interest from investment firms and other restaurant chains following a 13% dip in shares over the past year.
The Mexican QSR and fast casual segments are a serious force in the U.S. restaurant landscape and home to huge brands such as Chipotle, Taco Bell and Del Taco. With only 583 locations, Del Taco is a small player by a wide margin compared to Chipotle and Taco Bell, but Restaurant Dive posits that the chain could be seeking a sale to further establish itself as the QSR world shifts to digital ordering and in-store technology.
With competition coming from all sides—even from Burger King—Del Taco has set itself apart in a few ways. While both Taco Bell and Chipotle have evaded plant-based proteins, Del Taco has found huge success in introducing Beyond Meat to its menu. So what’s the beef with Del Taco’s suffering stocks?
Given the brand’s presence in only 15 states primarily in the Southwest, a sale could expand Del Taco’s reach to other parts of the U.S.—but not all fans might favor a sale. The recent acquisition of regional chain Whataburger by BDT Capital Partners caused an uproar among burger fans online, prompting Texas governor Gregg Abbott himself to meme about it.
If Del Taco finds itself acquired by a business with deep pockets, the 583-unit chain could make a serious impact on the Mexican QSR space. In other words, Taco Bell might want to start sleeping with one eye open, which it can do comfortably on a hot sauce packet shaped pillow.
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