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Del Taco says new foods and drive-thru business have led to positive same-store sales amid pandemic.

Del Taco’s drive-thrus lead to 4.1% increase in same-store sales

QSR chain raises third-party delivery prices by 20%.

Del Taco logged a 4.1% increase in quarterly same-store sales, underscoring the importance drive-thru lanes have played for quick-service chains during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ahead of a presentation at CL King's 18th Annual Best Ideas Conference on Wednesday, the Lake Forest, Calif.-based chain released preliminary results for the quarter ending Sept. 8. Beyond the brand’s drive-thru business, chain leaders credited the positive results to expanding its delivery presence with four operators: Uber Eats, DoorDash, Grubhub and Postmates.

Delivery orders are 1.85 times larger than in-restaurant check orders, the company said. Average check systemwide is at $8.06.  At the start of the third quarter, the chain increased delivery prices by 20%, a strategy that has gained momentum among chains during the pandemic

CEO John Cappasola said value and menu innovation have also played a large role in the brand’s pandemic recovery. 

While other companies have pressed pause on rolling out new foods, Del Taco has not let up. New menu introductions made during the pandemic include $1 crispy chicken tacos, fresh guacamole, a breakfast toasted wrap and two Poppers beverages.

“This strength in operations along with our brand differentiators have helped us weather the storm through the pandemic,” Cappasola told investors.

Going forward, the brand plans to step up its digital marketing efforts under the leadership of Erin Levzow. Levzow was appointed to the new position of Vice President Marketing Technology this month.  She will work on developing progams to drive consumer loyalty and increase visit frequency. 

The company closed the quarter with nearly 600 locations nationwide. Total revenue for the quarter edged up .4% to $120.7 million.

Contact Nancy Luna at [email protected] 

Follow her on Twitter: @fastfoodmaven

Updated: This story was edited to add more details.

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