Updated May 7, 2019. Vegan meat might be Del Taco’s biggest new menu launch in the company’s history, Bloomberg reports.
The Mexican-inspired fast food chain Del Taco launched Beyond Meat vegan beef in all of its 580 restaurants late last month. The meatless meat crumbles made from pea protein and look, cook, and taste like beef. It comes in several taco options and can be substituted into any other menu item.
“Since launching 11 days ago, we are very encouraged by increases in both check and traffic, as this new product platform is bringing in many new or lapsed users and appealing to regular Del Taco guests, who are all eager to sample our Beyond Taco offerings,” CEO John Cappasola told investors on Monday.
He added that he believes Beyond Meat’s success will lead to an “incredible future opportunity” to expand the plant-based protein across its menu. The new menu item is attracting both new and returning customers. “We’ve had stories — even on social media — of folks talking about having never been to Del Taco before and this giving them a reason to check out the brand,” Cappasola said.
Peter Saleh, an analyst and global financial services firm BTIG, said that sales and traffic are encouraging. “So far, the Beyond Meat Tacos are performing above the levels of the Del Taco, one of the most successful product launches in the company’s history,” he said.
Del Taco’s Meat-Free Success
Del Taco first tested the vegan option at five locations in Los Angeles, Orange, and San Bernardino counties as well as a “big chunk” of San Diego County in a dish called Beyond Tacos. Following the trial period, Cappasola announced the vegan option would be available “toward the back end of April.”
“The consumer opportunity is immense and exciting,” he said at the time. “There is no one else doing it in our category at the price point we plan to offer.”
The Beyond Tacos are sold for $2.49 each, a dollar more than tacos made with animal-based meat. Beyond Meat announced recently its intentions to make its protein cheaper than animal products.
The collaboration between the two SoCal-based brands marks the first time that Beyond Meat’s meatless crumbles have been offered at a U.S. drive-through restaurant. Del Taco is also the first Mexican fast food restaurant to serve Beyond Meat.
Customers have the option of swapping out animal-based meat in favor of the Beyond Meat crumbles in any of the restaurant’s existing dishes including burritos, fries, and nachos.
“At Beyond Meat we believe we are in the business of helping you Eat What You Love while enjoying the health, environmental, and animal welfare benefits of plant-based foods,” said Ethan Brown, CEO and founder of Beyond Meat.
He continued, “Our partnership with Del Taco reflects this belief in action. For my kids and their friends, Del Taco is a routine stop after games or practice. I’m thrilled that they can now, along with Del Taco customers, enjoy delicious Beyond Tacos and other entrees built with our delicious, sustainable, plant-based meat. I’m grateful to Del Taco leadership and team for their willingness to innovate with speed and vision.”
While this marks the first instance that Beyond Meat has been sold at an Mexican-American fast food establishment, it is also available at New York City-based Mexican fast casual chain Oaxaca Taqueria, which introduced the plant-based protein in a bid to be more sustainable.