#4 on the Franchise 500: Why Taco Bell Has Its Sights Set On Your City

The #4 company on our Franchise 500 list knows that to grow its customer base, it must go where customers are: metropolitan communities.

learn more about Matthew McCreary

By Matthew McCreary • Jan 15, 2019

Courtesy of Taco Bell

Started franchising: 1964
Total units: 6,999
Cost to open: $525.1K to $2.6M

There's plenty of reason to toast Taco Bell -- and not just because the company's Cantina locations now serve boozy beverages. Taco Bell, which has moved up from #8 on our list last year, is freshly focused on better serving urban markets, planning to open 1,000 new franchise locations across the U.S. by 2022. Some of those units will be its upmarket Cantina concept, while others will be walk-in shops with no drive-through option.

"In a traditional Taco Bell restaurant, the drive-through accounts for about 70 percent of sales," says Mike Grams, global chief operating officer. "In a city where a majority of customers walk and take public transportation, we had to create a concept that would allow us to be locally relevant."

Related: 20 Facts You Probably Didn't Know About Taco Bell

The focus on urban markets has hardly distracted from growth elsewhere: Taco Bell added more than 130 U.S. restaurants in 2018, and in November it opened its first London location. International exploration will continue this year with new outposts in Thailand, New Zealand, and Australia.

But better serving its customers means plenty more than simply opening new locations. A newly launched Cravings Value Menu features Taco Bell's greatest hits at $1 and $5 price points, and a Make It Meatless feature on the website and app allows vegetarian customers to easily replace meat with beans in any item. "In order to reach our growth goals, it's key that we increase access through our mobile app, kiosks, and delivery; use flexible restaurant formats; and cultivate the Taco Bell culture that consumers want to be part of," Grams says.

Related: 5 Steps You Need to Take Before You Buy a Franchise

To see our complete Franchisee 500 rankings, please click here, or view more stories here.

Matthew McCreary

Entrepreneur Staff

Associate Editor, Contributed Content

Matthew McCreary is the associate editor for contributed content at Entrepreneur.com.

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

Have More Responsibilities at Work, But No Pay Bump? Use This Script to Get the Raise You Deserve.
Black and Asian Founders Face Opposition at All Levels — Here's Why That Has to Change
Business News

Frontier Airlines Just Announced Its All-You-Can-Fly Summer Pass for $399. What's the Catch?

As travel begins to pick up, the airline hopes unlimited travel will jumpstart its business.

Buying / Investing in Business

Here's What You Need to Know About the Changing Face of Venture Capital

The picture of a venture capitalist is changing. Gen Z angels, digital natives and purpose-driven investors are leading the charge in venture capital, aiming for higher returns with less risk.

Business News

This New AI Technology Will Turn Your Ex Into a Red Flag, Snake or Even a Dog

Picsart's "Replace My Ex" might be the next-best solution for the heartbroken.