In April 2014, Taco Bell launched its upscale taco company – US Taco Co. It was a secret project that just went public into test markets.

“We realized that at Taco Bell we weren’t reaching all of those who want Mexican food,” says Jeff Jenkins, senior brand manager. “Everyone in the U.S. has become a foodie,” says Jenkins. “The first thing young people do in a restaurant is take out their camera and take a picture of their food β€” and post it on Instagram,” via USA Today.

Guilty.

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Taco bell has always dominated the fast-food taco market with food fares starting at $0.99. However, they were missing a large vertical target audience with a higher willingness to pay — millennials — including myself.

us taco logo

The fast-casual market, where food is fresh and fast, but there is no wait service (e.g., server), is somewhere in between fast-food and sit-down. Such restaurants include Chipotle and Panera Bread. Now, Taco Bell’s US Taco Co. represents that untapped market. With a new brand, higher-priced menu, and specialty items such as the ones below, it’s a worthy contender.

  • Winner-Winner: Southern fried chicken with border sauce
  • One-Percenter: Maine lobster, garlic butter, pico de gallo, on fried bread

us taco co food

When it comes to your own business, a lot of times, entrepreneurs think laterally. For example, if you’re a photographer, you shoot weddings, dogs, cats, portraits, and etc. However, do not forget to target vertically (more expensive and more cheap) where willingness to pay is higher and opportunity cost is relatively lower, which only means one thing — potentially higher margins for revenue.

Related Post: Why Have a Multi-Brand Strategy

Comment below your favorite Mexican restaurant and entree!

Stay hungry,

Lawrence

P.S. Mm … still a loyal fan of Chipotle. This week, I tried a competition Dos Toros and quickly went back to Chipotle to ask for forgiveness.

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