Many restaurant chains have taken a massive sales hit as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and some have even filed for bankruptcy. One brand which initially took a dive is Del Taco, but the beloved taco chain just announced that it's officially on the upswing.
"Our business has recovered is now stable," Del Taco CEO John Cappasola reportedly told investors during a third-quarter conference call.
Company-owned Del Taco locations, in particular, took a bit longer to recover given that 90% are based in California. For context, the Golden State is just now beginning to reopen indoor dining in more densely-populated counties. About half of the chain's 596 stores are owner-operated, which were responsible for driving a 4.1% increase in quarterly same-store sales. In addition, Del Taco's franchisees reported a 6.5% uptick in third-quarter, same-store sales. (Related: 9 Restaurant Chains That Closed Hundreds of Locations This Summer).
Cappasola highlighted recent menu innovations, including Del Taco's new Crispy Chicken menu and fresh guacamole, in a statement. The introduction of dollar deals also attributed to the chain's recovery, according to Nation's Restaurant News. The dollar menu has a range of items, including the Chicken Crunch Burrito and the Jacked Up Value Bean, Rice, And Cheese Burrito.
More recently, Del Taco debuted five brand-new menu items, and they all have one thing in common: Cholula Hot Sauce. The new menu items include: the Cholula Crispy Chicken Taco, the Epic Cholula Crispy Chicken Burrito, Cholula Loaded Fries, Cholula Chorizo Rollers, and Cholula Egg and Cheese Rollers. (Related: 5 Major Changes You'll See at Popeyes Going Forward)
Following suit with other major quick-service chains which are actively making strides to improve the efficiency of to-go orders, Del Taco will reportedly revamp its drive-thru lanes by adding employees outside to take orders to decrease wait time. Additionally, the chain is exploring curbside pick-up.
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