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Brief Published: 1 May 2014

Taco Bell Goes High-End

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Tacos from the US Taco Co.

US fast-food chain Taco Bell has announced plans to open a gourmet restaurant in California this summer called US Taco Co. and Urban Taproom.

The restaurant will serve a choice of 10 upscale tacos, alongside habanero-dusted fries and tequila-spiked milkshakes. The fusion-style tacos will feature ingredients such as lobster in garlic butter with red cabbage slaw and pico de gallo (fresh salsa), as well as gravy-covered fried chicken breast topped with roasted corn pico de gallo, costing up to $7.

While the restaurant will retain a fast-casual feel, with diner-style seating and at-the-counter ordering, the name Taco Bell won't appear anywhere in the restaurant. This move is reflective of a growing trend for 'debranding' hospitality spaces, as consumers reject big brands in favour of independent businesses.

Fast-food restaurants are adapting and upgrading to compete with the rapidly developing fast-casual restaurant market, working to compete against brands such as Chipotle that have seen huge success, particularly with millennial diners. US chain KFC began trialling its fast-casual concept KFC Eleven last year, while American brand Chick-Fil-A introduced behind-the-scenes kitchen tours and healthier menu options.

Read more about ways in which Taco Bell is targeting the lucrative millennial market in Taco Bell Drops Kids Meals to Target Millennials and Taco Bell Joins Snapchat. For more on the rise of fast-casual dining, see Fast-Moving Premium Consumption and Future Fast Food.

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