About Del Taco

Del Taco

Del Taco is an American fast-food restaurant chain which specializes in American-style Mexican cuisine as well as American foods such as burgers, fries, and shakes. Del Taco is led by Paul Murphy, the Chairman and CEO.The company is headquartered in the city of Lake Forest, California.



The first Del Taco restaurant was founded in 1964 in Yermo, California by Ed Hackbarth and David Jameson.On the first official day of business, Del Taco made $169.Success of the first restaurant led to two in Barstow, one in Needles, and a fifth restaurant in Corona (the first Del Taco with a drive-thru window). Dick Naugle, who installed the kitchen equipment in the Corona store, was impressed by the design and joined Hackbarth and Jameson in the fledgling business. In 1966, the trio founded Red-E-Food Systems, Inc. with the idea of franchising the Del Taco brand.That same year, the original Del Taco sun logo was created and in 1967, Del Taco introduced their famous bean and cheese burrito with green or red sauce to their menu.Before long, the restaurants were being founded throughout Southern California.


Naugle left the company early in the decade to start his own Mexican fast food chain, Naugles. In 1973, the company dropped “Casa” from its name and Red-E-Food Systems became Del Taco, Inc. By that time, the company was enjoying a remarkable growth spurt; during one period, they were opening a new restaurant every month. However, in 1976, Hackbarth and Jameson sold Del Taco to a group of investors.


In 1981, Del Taco had roughly 350 restaurants (still located almost exclusively to California).

In February 1988, Del Taco merged their restaurants with the 171 Naugles’ Mexican fast food outlets. Anwar Soliman was the man behind the move and was, ironically, the mastermind behind the purchase of the rights to expand Del Taco throughout the United States back in 1977.


n 1990, Kevin K. Moriarty joined Del Taco as the new CEO, soon becoming the owner of the brand in conjunction with his management team. His team launched new efforts to grow the brand’s image while improving the total customer experience, setting the stage for extreme growth.

In 1992, Del Taco recaptured exclusive rights to its name from W. R. Grace and Company and was now able to expand outside of California.Del Taco launched a $14 million program to redesign its restaurant exteriors, kitchens, and corporate logo. The company presented its Concept 2000 restaurant design and in August 1992 introduced its new logo. In place of the old orange and blue sunset, there was a yellow sun that rose over green mountains against a red background; these colors represented the primary ingredients of Del Taco food: cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes.


Del Taco menu board, November 2007

By 2000, Del Taco had 372 stores located in ten U.S. states. That year, an important deal was signed with the Compass Group PLC that enabled Del Taco stores to open on American military bases. The first to do business was the store at Patuxent River Naval Air Station in St. Mary's County, Maryland, in early 2001. Other Del Tacos were planned for American bases in Puerto Rico, Naples, and Italy.


Del Taco in Denton, Texas opened in 2010.

Del Taco returned to Texas with a new location in Denton, Texas, north of Dallas. W. R. Grace and Company had previously owned and operated locations in Texas with a licensing agreement in 1978, but sold the restaurants to Taco Bell in 1992.

Captain D's was sold in 2010 to Sun Capital Partners.

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This section is outdated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (June 2009)

The chain operates in 17 states in the U.S.A., with the majority of their restaurants in the West Coast states (California, Oregon, and Washington) or in seven other western states (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah).There are also multiple Del Taco restaurants located in the Detroit area of Michigan.


Del Taco serves two different types of food: Mexican and American. Their standard menu includes Hard Shell Tacos, Soft Tacos, Burritos, Quesadillas, Nachos, Deluxe Taco Salad, Crinkle Cut French Fries, Chili Cheddar Fries, Double Del Cheeseburger, Bacon Double Del Cheeseburger, Triple Del Cheeseburger, Fries, Shakes, and at least four types of Dinner Burritos.

The first mascot of Del Taco was a character of the same name used from 1999 through 2000. While popular, Del Taco (the company) was hit by a lawsuit from Zorro Productions, Inc. and Tristar Pictures, Inc., who claimed that the "Del Taco" character – masked and costumed in black – infringed on their rights to the trademark Zorro figure. Del Taco settled the suit in January 2000, agreeing to make changes to the Del Taco character, but soon discontinued the ad campaign altogether.

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