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Del Taco pulls wraps off ‘Fresh Flex’ prototype

Design expands real estate options and offers third-party delivery pickup areas, double drive-thrus and parking for dining in cars

Del Taco Restaurants Inc., the quick-service Mexican-American brand, on Tuesday pulled the wraps off its pandemic-altered store prototype, offering flexibility in size and cost.

The Lake Forest, Calif.-based company’s prototype has tapped into consumer changes by offering third-party delivery pick-up areas, double drive-thru lanes to highlight mobile orders or delivery driver pickups and dedicated parking lot areas for customers who want to dine in their automobiles.

Del Taco is also offering multiple buildout options with a “Menu of Venues” strategy with a range of stores from 1,200 to 2,400 square feet to adapt to various real estate options.

“Our new prototype solidifies our relationships with new and longstanding fans by offering them the most efficient, convenient and enjoyable environment possible,” said John Cappasola Jr., Del Taco CEO, in a statement.

Del Taco collaborated with San Diego, Calif.-based MY Studio ID for the new design, which offers back-lit towers and a color palette of green, yellow and orange.

Inside the unit, built-in coolers provide a transparent display of the ingredients and an open kitchen.

The company said the prototype options were designed to help franchise developers be more flexible in choosing real estate, including small footprint drive-thru only models, drive-thru endcaps, conversions and freestanding sites.

“We put a major emphasis on optimizing kitchen efficiency,” said Chad Gretzema, Del Taco’s chief operating officer, in a statement. “It is the production engine of our brand, so each new restaurant size scales around the kitchen.”

The design also offers a template for remodeling of older Del Taco units, the company noted.

Billy Jensen, an operating partner of Jetz Foods, a multi-unit franchise group in the Southeast, said, “In site selection, a ‘one-size-fits-all’ model doesn’t work because every market is different. Del Taco understands that, and they’ve provided solutions to address common issues developers and operators see every day.”

For the third quarter ended Sept. 8, Del Taco swung to a net profit of $5.8 million, or 15 cents per share, from a net loss of $7.7 million, or 21 cents per share, in the same period a year ago. Revenue increased 0.5%, to $120.8 million, from the same quarter last year.

As of Sept. 8, Del Taco had 596 restaurants in 16 states. The brand was founded in 1964.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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