Taco Bell to open 100 restaurants across ANZ in 5 years

By Nick Hall | 27 Sep 2019 View comments

Fresh off the back of a new partnership signing with operator Restaurant Brands, US franchise giant Taco Bell has unveiled plans to open 100 restaurants across Australia and New Zealand in just five years.

The Mexican-inspired Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) chain currently operates five outlets in Queensland, but an announcement earlier this year indicated aggressive expansion was on the way.

Now, Taco Bell Asia Pacific managing director Ankush Tuli has confirmed suspicions.

“We have stated before that Australia is a key focus area for us, and I really believe that the region will be one of the largest and fastest-growing markets for Taco Bell internationally,” Tuli told Inside Franchise Business.

“The numbers are out there, our target is to reach 100 restaurants in Australia and New Zealand over the next five years, and we have the momentum to do it.”

Taco Bell Australia

The Taco Bell Australian expansion is set to kick off with new restaurants in Sydney and Melbourne, along with a number of additional sites in Brisbane. According to Tuli, fans can expect around 30 restaurant openings in the next 12 to 18 months.

While the latest expansion announcement marks a significant boom to the Australian operation, it’s been a long-time coming for the US franchise giant.

High profile attempts at the Australian market in the 1980s and early 2000s were unsuccessful, but this time around the response has been overwhelming.

Taco Bell Australia’s third incarnation came in 2017, when the brand, in conjunction with operator Collins Foods Limited launched its inaugural restaurant in Annerley. The subdued and understated opening escaped media attention, which Tuli revealed was a deliberate strategy to test the waters.

“We really came at it this time with the intention of making sure we laid a really solid foundation,” Tuli said.

“Taco Bell’s unique offering of Mexican-inspired food has really resonated with the Australian public, and our unique positioning as a culture-centric, lifestyle brand, where we showcase the social experience of food is sinking in. Australians are really loving it this time around.”

Taco Bell Asia Pacific managing Director Ankush Tuli | Inside Franchise Business

Taco Bell Asia Pacific managing Director Ankush Tuli | Inside Franchise Business

Taco Bell APAC

Australia and New Zealand aren’t the only regions experiencing growth for the Mexican-inspired chain.

In India, Taco Bell now has 40 restaurants, a number that Tuli expects to climb to 60 before the end of the year. Additionally, the brand recently made a successful entry into Thailand, opening a location in Bangkok, before adding two more outlets.

While Indonesia is the next region set for expansion, Tuli reveals the primary focus is Australia.

“Above all, the thing I’m most excited by is the response we have received in Australia,” the Taco Bell APAC managing director said.

“Our restaurants in Brisbane are among the highest performing in the world, so there’s a lot of excitement around our growth. It’s a really exciting time.”