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Del Taco

Del Taco Restaurants Inc. is a Lake Forest, Calif.-based quick-service Mexican chain known for its Mexican-American fare like hard and soft tacos, queso fries and bacon quesadillas. The chain is the second-largest U.S. quick-service Mexican chain, after Taco Bell, with 595 locations nationwide.

Del Taco was founded in 1964 in California by Ed Hackbarth and David Jameson as “Casa Del Taco.” That same year, the company began franchising under Red-E-Food Systems, Inc. In 1973 the “Casa” was dropped from their name and the company was sold to a group of private investors, which sold the rights to W. R. Grace and Company.

Del Taco bought back the exclusive rights to its name and distribution and filed for bankruptcy in 1993. In 2004, Captain D’s Seafood parent company, Sagittarius Brands, bought Del Taco, which sold it to Levy Acquisition Corporation in 2015, when the chain first became a public company.

In 2019, Del Taco announced a partnership with Beyond Meat to sell plant-based tacos. During the pandemic, the company endured some menu-trimming but also entered the chicken wars, with the introduction of their new crispy chicken menu. In 2021, the company unveiled its new “Fresh Flex” store prototype, with third-party delivery pick-up areas, double drive-thru and dedicated parking lot areas.

Key Data: Del Taco

Headquarters: Lake forest, Calif.

Segment: Quick Service

Restaurant Segment: LSR Mexican

Number of US locations: 595

2020 Sales: $833.3 million

Annual Growth:

Source: Datassential Firefly 500

CEO: John Cappasola