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Is Taco Bell the Fastest Growing Fast-Food Chain in the US?

In this article, we'll conduct an in-depth analysis of Taco Bell to see where it stands in terms of the fastest-growing fast food chains across America, based on number of new units opened in 2022 relative to 2021. We've compiled a list of 15 Fastest-Growing Fast Food Chains in the US based on this methodology.

Taco Bell

Units opened in 2022: 196

Taco Bell Corp. is a multinational chain of fast-food restaurants based in the United States. It was established in 1962 by Glen Bell in Downey, California. The fast-food Mexican chain has been expanding its reach in recent years to stimulate growth, and it appears to be achieving success in this endeavor.

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In its mid-2023 update, the company shared that the business is on track to be operating 10,000 U.S.-based restaurants in the coming years. Currently, the company serves more than 8,000 restaurants, which helps it serve 40 million customers on a weekly basis. Internationally, Taco Bell has a network that’s spread across 30 countries, with the help of 1,000 international restaurants. Taco Bell is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM), also has renowned brands like KFC and Pizza Hut under its belt.

Amongst many fast-food drive-thru chains in America, like Mcdonald's, KFC, and Wendy’s, to name a few, Taco Bell is regarded as the fastest one amongst all, with a typical order taking on average 5 minutes to get ready and served, according to Fox 11. Carl’s Jr. and KFC followed up with 303.74 seconds, and 303.95 seconds, average order-serving-time, respectively.

Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM) recently announced its 2024 1st quarter results. As of the 1st quarter of 2024, the total tally of Taco Bell’s units is 8,555, with 56 new restaurants opening in the quarter, across 14 countries! Taco Bell’s system sales for the quarter were recorded at $3.6 billion, up by 4% YoY (year-over-year), according to Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM) quarter results. Operating profit, on the other hand, grew 2% from $204 million in the 1st quarter of 2023 to $208 million in the 2024 1st quarter. This helped Taco Bell bag an operating margin of a staggering 34.8%, which is the epitome of its impressive performance in the quarter – though the operating margin fell 0.8% as compared to a year ago. Moreover, Taco Bell’s same-store sales saw an uptick of 2%, while its international same-store sales experienced a downtick of 2%.

Furthermore, in 2024, Taco Bell is looking to boost its loyalty program, as the loyalty customers were reported to spend 40% more than traditional customers; these loyalty programs allow customers to earn and redeem points, and have early access to new products, giving a wholly personalized experience for them.

If we come down to its menu offerings, Crunchwrap Supreme is the best-selling item on its menu, 7 million of which are sold on a weekly basis. Some other customers’ favorites are Chalupa Supreme, Soft Taco, and Cheesy Gordita Crunch. Such yummy offerings have helped Taco Bell bag a healthy customer base that tallies a staggering figure of 2 billion, who are served every year, according to Gitnux! Some of the competitors of Taco Bell are Wendy’s, Chipotle, and McDonald’s; but amongst them, Del Taco is the one that’s on the rise and one that Taco Bell would be keeping an eye on.

Based on the number of units opened in 2022 relative to 2021, however, Taco Bell is NOT the fastest-growing fast-food chain in the US, but it ranks 5th in our list of the 15 fastest-growing fast-food chains in America.

If you want to see which chain is the fastest-growing in the US, visit our free report 15 Fastest-Growing Fast-Food Chains in the US.