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Del Taco: Our Humble Beginnings

For more than 50 years, Del Taco has been serving freshly prepared, craveable food at an unbeatable value. It’s a winning combination that’s delighted its loyal fans for years, and one of the many reasons why Del Taco is among the leading brands in the fast-growing Mexican QSR category. In fact, Del Taco ranks among the top third franchise brands across the United States in Entrepreneur’s 41st annual Franchise 500® list!

So, how has Del Taco grown into the powerhouse brand it’s become today? It all started when Ed Hackbarth and David Jameson opened the first Del Taco restaurant in Yermo, CA in 1964. With a menu of 19-cent tacos, tostadas, fries and 24-cent cheeseburgers, Del Taco raked in $169 in sales on its first day in business – that’s the equivalent of nearly 900 tacos!

What began as just one humble restaurant serving Mexican-inspired favorites and American classics grew into a force to be reckoned with in less than two decades. Del Taco’s growth ramped up during the 1970s, as well as its menu – expanding to include items such as the bun taco, quesadilla and ice cream sundaes. By the 1980s, the popular concept began to stay open all night to keep up with the demand of the new 24/7 lifestyle. The 90s brought about a series of bold and daring initiatives to improve customer experience and grow the brand’s image – including a new logo design.

The 2010s saw a fresh approach unlike ever before. With the introduction of the industry-leading Buck & Under Menu, the Epic Burritos and Handcrafted Ensaladas, Del Taco proved that foodies can still enjoy delicious food made with fresh ingredients and served at an unbelievable price.

2016 brought the launch of THE Del Taco, inspired by the original and loaded with more of the ingredients fans crave. This new signature taco essentially became the face of the brand, serving as a representative of everything Del Taco stands for – fresh quality and abundant value. In 2019, the brand beefed up its digital strategy by launching a mobile app and integrating third-party delivery providers. By the end of the decade, Del Taco introduced the future of tacos and burritos by partnering with Beyond Meat.

Even after 55+ years, Del Taco continues to remain on the forefront of freshness and innovation. Today, the brand operates in 15 states and is expanding across the country with passionate multi-unit restaurant operators. While Del Taco has evolved over time, the brand has always and continues to stay true to its roots – serving freshly prepared, craveable food at an unbeatable value. Guests always come back for Del Taco's Mexican-inspired favorites and American classics, prepared with fresh ingredients hand-chopped, slow-cooked and grilled in each restaurant's working kitchen.

From humble beginnings to bold business moves – learn how you can join in as a franchisee with Del Taco!

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