Fast food is a convenient and affordable dining option for many busy people. The major fast food chains like McDonald’s, Burger King, and Subway are household names, with locations all across the country. But not all fast food joints achieve such widespread popularity.

In fact, some fast food chains struggle to attract customers and end up closing many or all of their locations.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Del Taco is currently the least popular major fast food chain in the U.S., lagging significantly behind competitors in sales, footprint, and brand awareness.

This article will dive into why Del Taco trails other fast food chains in popularity and revenue. We’ll look at crucial factors like menu variety, pricing, restaurant locations, brand marketing, and more.

Read on to learn all about America’s least popular fast food restaurant and how it compares to more successful chains like McDonald’s and Taco Bell.

An Overview of Del Taco

History and Founding

Del Taco is a fast food restaurant chain that was founded in 1964 by Ed Hackbarth and David Jameson in Yermo, California. It started as a small taco stand with a vision to provide customers with delicious Mexican-American cuisine at affordable prices.

Over the years, Del Taco has grown into a well-known brand with over 560 locations across the United States.

Del Taco’s commitment to quality and innovation has allowed them to stand out in the fast food industry. They were one of the first fast food chains to introduce items like the Crunchy Taco and the Burrito Supreme, which quickly became customer favorites.

Throughout its history, Del Taco has remained dedicated to serving fresh, made-to-order food. They use high-quality ingredients and offer a wide variety of menu options to cater to different tastes and preferences.

Menu Items

Del Taco is famous for its Mexican-American inspired menu, which includes a range of tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and nachos. They also offer hamburgers, fries, and shakes for those who prefer classic American fast food.

One of their most popular menu items is the Del Taco, a classic taco made with seasoned beef, lettuce, and cheese, all wrapped in a warm tortilla. Another customer favorite is the Crunchy Taco, which features a crunchy corn shell filled with seasoned beef, lettuce, and cheese.

For those looking for a heartier option, Del Taco offers burritos filled with options like grilled chicken, carne asada, or slow-cooked beans. They also have a variety of quesadillas, loaded with cheese, grilled chicken, or steak.

Del Taco is also known for its commitment to offering healthier options. They have a “Fresh Faves” menu that includes items like the Turkey Del Taco, which is made with lean ground turkey, and the Avocado Veggie Bowl, which is filled with fresh vegetables and avocado slices.

Restaurant Locations

Del Taco has a strong presence in the United States, with locations in 14 states. Some of the most popular states for Del Taco restaurants include California, Texas, and Nevada.

The restaurant chain has strategically placed its locations in areas where customers can easily access their food. They have both standalone restaurants and locations within shopping centers and gas stations, making it convenient for customers to grab a quick meal.

To find the nearest Del Taco restaurant, customers can visit their official website at and use the store locator tool.

Key Reasons for Del Taco’s Lack of Popularity

Smaller Footprint and Limited Locations

One of the primary reasons for Del Taco’s lack of popularity is its smaller footprint and limited number of locations compared to its competitors. While other fast food giants like McDonald’s and Burger King have thousands of outlets across the country, Del Taco has a relatively smaller presence.

This limited availability makes it less accessible to a wider customer base, leading to lower popularity.

Minimal Brand Awareness and Marketing

Another contributing factor to Del Taco’s lack of popularity is its minimal brand awareness and marketing efforts. Unlike some of its competitors who invest heavily in marketing campaigns and advertising, Del Taco has not been able to generate the same level of brand recognition.

This lack of visibility in the market means that potential customers may not be aware of Del Taco as an option when choosing where to dine, leading to lower popularity.

Niche Market Appeal

Del Taco’s niche market appeal is another reason why it may not be as popular as other fast food restaurants. While some people appreciate Del Taco’s unique combination of Mexican and American flavors, others may prefer more traditional fast food options.

This niche market appeal means that Del Taco may not resonate with a broader audience, impacting its overall popularity.

Stiff Competition in the Mexican Fast Food Segment

The Mexican fast food segment is highly competitive, and Del Taco faces stiff competition from well-established players like Taco Bell. Taco Bell’s extensive menu, aggressive marketing campaigns, and widespread locations have made it a go-to choice for many fast food enthusiasts.

This competition makes it challenging for Del Taco to stand out and gain a significant share of the market, ultimately affecting its popularity.

How Del Taco Compares to More Popular Chains

Vs. Taco Bell

When comparing Del Taco to Taco Bell, it’s important to note that both restaurants have their own unique offerings. While Taco Bell is known for its innovative and sometimes unconventional menu items, Del Taco takes a more traditional approach to Mexican fast food.

Del Taco prides itself on using fresh ingredients and offering a variety of options for customers. In terms of popularity, Taco Bell has a larger presence and a more extensive menu. However, Del Taco has a loyal customer base who appreciate its quality and authenticity.

Vs. McDonald’s

McDonald’s is undoubtedly one of the most popular fast food chains in the world. When comparing Del Taco to McDonald’s, it’s important to consider the different types of cuisine they offer. While McDonald’s is primarily known for its burgers, fries, and chicken nuggets, Del Taco focuses on Mexican-inspired dishes.

Del Taco offers a wide range of tacos, burritos, and quesadillas, along with their famous Crinkle Cut Fries. While McDonald’s may have a larger customer base overall, Del Taco has its own unique appeal and dedicated fans who appreciate its flavorful offerings.

Vs. Burger King

Burger King is another well-known fast food chain that is often compared to Del Taco. Both restaurants offer a variety of options for customers, but with different focuses. Burger King is known for its flame-grilled burgers, while Del Taco offers a range of Mexican-inspired dishes.

In terms of popularity, Burger King has a larger presence and a more recognizable brand. However, Del Taco’s commitment to using fresh ingredients and its flavorful menu options make it a favorite among those who prefer Mexican cuisine.

Vs. Wendy’s

Wendy’s is a popular fast food chain that is often compared to Del Taco. Both restaurants offer a variety of menu options, but with different culinary focuses. Wendy’s is known for its square-shaped burgers, fresh never-frozen beef, and signature Frosty desserts.

Del Taco, on the other hand, specializes in Mexican-inspired dishes such as tacos, burritos, and nachos. While Wendy’s has a larger presence and brand recognition, Del Taco has its own loyal following who enjoy its fresh ingredients and authentic flavors.


Although it trails behind larger and more established chains, Del Taco fills an important niche in the fast food landscape. For fans of higher quality Mexican-style fast food, it provides an appetizing alternative to Taco Bell’s more mainstream offerings.

As smaller regional chains like Del Taco continue to evolve their menus and branding, they may eventually compete more effectively with fast food titans like McDonald’s and Subway.

In the competitive fast food industry, gaining nationwide popularity and brand awareness is certainly an uphill battle. For now, Del Taco seems content with its position as a smaller yet beloved chain with devotees across the Southwest.

Its future success will depend on doubling down on its core menu strengths while boosting its marketing and real estate expansion nationwide.

Similar Posts