Taco Bell

Jul 27, 2019 | Report Announcements

Taco Bell is extremely well positioned as the only $1B+ national QSR Mexican player (category of 1) with core equity around abundant value, craveable innovation and a bold flavor profile. Its compelling value equation extends well beyond the notion of “cheap food” to affordable food that also offers appealing taste, flavor & gratification (food people want, not just what they can afford) and it is notable that the brand has been successful at balancing value with margins that benefit from: recent promotional focus on $5 boxes; a switch to its new $1/$5 Cravings Menu (which replaced the 20 item $1 value menu at the beginning of 2019); and a move to $1.29 price points, up from $1 in some cases. In any case, its value positioning is facilitated by a material COGs outperformance which is driven by the ability to mix & match an abundance of inexpensive ingredients. The brand is extremely dialed-into the Millennial demo with a very targeted menu & marketing strategy and this cult, Millennial lifestyle “hipness” brand entertains with playful and engaging story ads that include compelling fake trailers for fake movies with sequels that provide viewers with a reason to stay-tuned. Healthy comp growth reflects strong brand positioning and its AUV is at an all-time high (capacity benefits from a menu that addresses multiple dayparts including breakfast, lunch, dinner, Happier Hour & late-night) and store-level dollar profits are also at an all-time high. Access benefits from the recent launch of delivery (4,000 stores with marketing support starting in February 2019) and the installation of two 22″ kiosks in 4,000 stores with the rollout expected to be completed by the end of 2019. We like that its delivery menu prices are the same as in-store and that Taco Bell has negotiated a reasonable 15% commission to pay Grubhub for deliveries. In conclusion, Taco Bell’s strengths continue to far outweigh whatever few weaknesses we can find as the chain continues to represent one of the most relevant QSR brands in the 21st century.

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