Del Taco is rolling out tortas, a Mexican-style sandwich, to its nearly 600 restaurants systemwide on Thursday, the company said.
Initially, the new Epic Tortas will come in three varieties, each on a 7-inch roll that is toasted before being filled.
The BLT Epic Torta Chicken will be made with grilled marinated chicken, bacon, ranch sauce, shredded cheddar cheese, shredded lettuce and pico de gallo and will sell for around $6.59.
The Crispy Chicken Guac Epic Torta will have two chicken strips breaded and fried in ranch sauce with guacamole, shredded cheddar cheese, lettuce and pico de gallo and will sell for around $6.79.
The Carne Asada & Queso Epic Torta, which marketing manager Tim Hackbardt said performed best in testing, is made with grilled seasoned steak, cheddar cheese, queso blanco and pico de gallo and will sell for around $7.59.
Hackbardt, who served as Del Taco’s first CMO in 1999, said the Lake Forest, Calif.-based chain had tested tortas three times before without success.
“Fast food hadn’t really evolved yet,” he said, explaining that customers expected very inexpensive items from fast food restaurants and didn’t expect high-end items.
“The category has changed now,” he said. “Probably Carl’s [Jr.] started with the $6 burger,” which launched in 2001. This was followed by high-end sandwiches from Arby’s, the chicken sandwich from Popeyes, and other higher-end items which, according to Hackbardt , paved the way for Del Taco tortas.
“Now it’s more believable that you can go to a fast food restaurant and get this high-quality product,” he said.
The tortas will come on pre-sliced split rolls that aren’t quite cut, which operationally means they’re similar to the stuffing in a taco, Hackbardt said.
These three tortas are just the start of an entire category, he said, with recipes already developed for limited-time torta offerings, including some breakfast options.
“We think there’s a really good opportunity for this item to take us to new places,” he said, noting that it’s very delivery-friendly and suitable as a dinner entree, and that dinner time is when a lot of food is ordered for delivery. . The fact that most Del Tacos are open 24 hours also gives them an edge with this product, as does the fact that other Mexican chains don’t offer tortas.
“We [also] I think there is potential to steal a bit from the $26 billion sub-sandwich category,” he added.
The September 1 launch is meant to coincide with the start of the college and pro football seasons, and to promote this, customers who order the tortas through Del Yeah! the application will have free delivery on weekends of the month.
The launch of the tortas is part of a larger brand initiative called Del Taco Better Mex that showcases the chain’s premium products, including homemade pico de gallo, guacamole and beans and cheddar cheese. grated internally. The chain indicated that other premium products would be launched soon, without giving further details.
To promote tortas, Del Taco is changing its name to Del Torta for the first week of September, including changing all signage in a newly remodeled unit in Lakewood, CA.
Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected]