After years of speculation and hints, Restaurant Brands has announced that it has reached an agreement with Taco Bell Restaurants Asia to bring the brand to New Zealand.
The announcement follows a strong showing by the single Taco Bell store in Australia, as well as the success of Taco Bell restaurants taken over by Restaurant Brands in Hawaii and Guam in 2016. Those stores generated $19.4 million for Restaurant Brands last financial year.
“Bringing the Taco Bell brand to this part of the world aligns with our strategy of focusing on global tier-one brands in markets we understand,” Creedy said. “We know from our experience in Hawaii and Guam that Taco Bell is a top-tier brand backed by excellent franchise systems.”
The launch will begin next year, with 60 stores set to open across Australia and New Zealand. The stores will be built starting in January and June 2024.
Chris Wilkinson, director of retail consultancy group First Retail, said that the launch would be well-received in New Zealand, but customers hoping to see a cheaper Mexican option may be disappointed.
“I don’t think they will be able to do it much cheaper [than $15]. I expect it to be on par with other options.”
Wilkinson also said that he expected stores to open in malls and could even replace other brands already operated by Restaurant Brands, such as Carl’s Jr.
“They may look at converting some of their existing stores within their portfolio,” he said. “It’s more likely to be potentially the Carl’s Jr [brand] – It’s hard to know how well it is doing. They haven’t put in any new stores in since the first tranche. It seems to be sitting under the radar.”