Del Taco's signed the first franchisee it plans to recruit in its drive to open 80 restaurants around the Dallas area.
Guillermo Perales' Sun Holdings, which operates Popeye's, Golden Corral, Burger King and CiCi's Pizza restaurants, has added Del Taco to its portfolio.
"We wanted to add a Mexican QSR concept," Perales explained in a release. "We wanted to bring Del Taco to Dallas because we know this market so well."
Eighty percent of Sun Holdings' 200 restaurants are located in the Dallas area.
Del Taco last year opened a company-owned restaurant in Denton and plans to open an additional outlet in McKinney. While spokesperson Barbara Caruso refused to specify where Sun Holdings will locate its Del Tacos -- "there's so much competition for real estate," she said -- she suspects restaurants will turn up in Dallas proper.
There were Del Tacos in Dallas back when the chain was owned by W.R. Grace, but Caruso emphasizes the concept has changed radically since the company's changed hands. Unlike the casual dining Del Tacos that Dallas eaters patronized in the 1970s, the current Del Tacos are structured as fast-food joints.
"The only thing that's the same is the red sauce," Caruso says.