Taco Bell's London comeback, and how they plan to expand their UK footprint
International president Liz Williams says the Mexican fast food chain is primed for significant growth opportunities in the city.
Earl's Court and Leicester Square were some of the locations Taco Bell was last seen by Londoners before fully exiting the capital during the nineties.
But thanks to a growing consumer demand for Mexican cuisine - the fast food chain, now a stronger brand in the United Kingdom and worldwide, is ready to end its exile.
"We constantly get notes on our Facebook pages and all over our [other] social media pages (from customers), asking when Taco Bell is coming to London. We felt like all the stars [and] all the factors have aligned and [that] it is time to be there," Taco Bell international president Liz Williams exclusively told QSR Media.
Aside from a more established Mexican category in the city, Williams believes that they are now able to leverage the best of Taco Bell in terms of its scale and resources in order to ensure the success of their comeback.
"We can make London work by picking great locations with good economics. We've got the mix of enthusiasm and that consumer demand so it is very attractive for franchise partners," she added.
Through a select group of franchise partners, Taco Bell is starting their London return in Hammersmith, Fulham Broadway and Holborn.
"London is such a big diverse city and we found that these three locations really match what we were looking for. They have a lot of the dynamics we look for in sites: great foot traffic, good generators for all day parts via offices, retail, schools and homes."
Remaining thoughtful amid significant opportunity
Currently at 27 sites in the UK, Taco Bell will cross the 30-store mark once the three upcoming sites open before the end of the year. Whilst they see "significant opportunity" in the city, Williams stresses the value of being thoughtful with the economics of expansion.
"In terms of picking the right sites, getting the right model, I think you need to be thoughtful. Some of the sites that will open up will be a mix in terms of sizes; there will be some that might be smaller than what you would have expected in a typical Taco Bell," she explained.
"With the advent of delivery, there's a large increase in people taking food out of the restaurant or having it delivered - they never even stepped foot in the restaurant to order."
Despite it being a comeback, Williams says Taco Bell will treat their return as if they are "going to a new market." Sharing her excitement, she says the brand hopes to continue refining their innovations and offerings to give better value to their consumers.
"We're excited to bring more Taco Bell to a great city," she exclaimed.
* Articles and images courtesy of our partner, QSR Media.