Thursday, April 5, 2012

Del Taco Adding to its Growing Atlanta Presence

Lake Forest, California-based Del Taco is rapidly expanding its growing Atlanta presence.  The fast food Mexican chain is returning to Atlanta for the third time, and now with corporate stores
rather than local franchisees, the company has set its sights on conquering the market once and for all.

Del Taco, unlike Taco Bell from Louisville, Kenntucky Yum! Brands, features both Mexican and American food items.  In addition to burritos and tacos, Del Taco also features burgers, fries, shakes and cheescake bites.  Additionally, the chain has an impressive breakfast lineup, with various breakfast burritos, biscuits and muffins to choose from.

The chain plans to open up to 60 locations in the metro area in the coming years.  

The first of these locations opened in February in Snellville on land formerly home to Fazoli's.  Fazoli's was once owned by McDonald's, but has since been sold to Boca Raton-based Sun Capital Partners and has but one remaining location in Georgia, in Valdosta. (Sun Capital Partners has invested in numerous other restaurants including Boston Market, another McDonald's divestment, Captain D's, Friendly's, Smokey Bones and others.)

The Snellville location is about 3000 square-feet, about 600 square feet larger than the size of many of the upcoming area locations.  The Snellville location is open 24 hours, and seats over 100 (inclusive of an outdoor patio.)  Thus far the restaurant has been setting sales records nearly every week, and it's not uncommon to see a line stretching around the building for the drive-thru.

Upcoming Del Taco locations include both custom built locations and renovations.  One such custom location is located on Chastain Road, near Kennesaw State University.  As of now, this location is scheduled to open in early May.  Another location will open on Cobb Parkway in the former El Pollo Loco.  Costa Mesa, California-based El Pollo Loco entered the Atlanta market in 2008, and after announcing plans to open 50+ locations, only opened about 10 before exiting the market entirely last year.  A number of their locations are in prime locations, and it is no surprise that Del Taco is opening in their Cobb Parkway space.  The restaurant is located about a mile north of Cumberland Mall, along a high trafficked stretch of Cobb Parkway, and when El Pollo was in the space, it was one of their best performing in the region.

Other Del Taco locations are slated for Highway 92 in Woodstock, and near Merchants' Walk in East Cobb.   A location I reported was in the works in Douglasville no longer is, and may never have been authorized from what I've now learned.

As I noted in an earlier post, Miami, Florida-based Pollo Tropical is also re-entering the Atlanta market after shuttering three franchised locations in 1996.  Their first new location opened on Duluth Highway in Lawrenceville last year and soon another will open on Cobb Parkway in an outparcel of Akers Mill shopping center.

Additionally, Pollo Campero, with U.S. headquarters in Dallas, Texas, recently opened a few locations in Atlanta and in fast casual, Miami, Florida-based Lime Fresh Mexican Grill has entered the market as well.  Fueled by an investment from Maryville, Tennessee-based Ruby Tuesday, Lime Fresh has already opened two locations in Buckhead and Midtown, and has two more in the works in South Buckhead and Dunwoody.

What do you think of all this Mexican food?  Is it too much, or is there still room for more?  What is your favorite fast food or fast casual eatery in this cuisine?  Are you, like me, counting down til El Pollo Loco returns to Atlanta?  Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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8 comments:

TheJohnP said...

I don't foresee El Pollo Loco trying to get into Atlanta again. Wish they had stayed as I really dug 'em.

Not too excited about Del Taco. What I would love to see in Atlanta would be Jack in the Box or Whataburger. A man can dream...

Atlantan99 said...

Some dreams do come true...

Anonymous said...

Is that a hint that one of those two is coming to Atlanta?Or maybe the frequently dreamed of In N Out Burgers?

Atlantan99 said...

No comment...

Grant, the Hipster Dad said...

I would be surprised to see Whataburger in town; at least two of their three south Georgia stores have failed recently. Jack in the Box has long been a possibility, but they've had troubles in the southeast as well. About half of their Nashville-area stores have closed, but they're pretty big in Anderson, Spartanburg and Greenville.

Anonymous said...

Del Taco. I'm so glad to read this. Taco Bell's quality has nosedived in the last few years.

DT is lightyears ahead of TB. Looking forward to having Del Taco in the area again!!

Anonymous said...

I was a HUGE fan of Del Taco many years ago in college. Visited one while I was out was a few weeks ago and was sorely disappointed. I'm hoping the lack of food quality was an isolated incident and that when they open locally I'll still be as excited as I was when I first heard the announcement!

In your service said...

Awesome post, been trying to keep up on all the Del Taco news I can since I learned of their re-arrival.

I drove 1hr one way to Snellville to get some and I was not disappointed!

Now that these are corporate locations and they are no longer teamed with Ms Winners I believe they will have much success this time around. Their restaurants looked very upbeat and lively.