Today Del Taco announced two pieces of (meatless) meaty news. First, it revealed that the Beyond Meat Taco, which hit Del Taco menus nationwide in April, was one of its most successful product launches ever. Springboarding off this popularity, the fast-food chain also announced that it’s expanding its plant-based lineup with two new Beyond Meat burritos.
The Beyond 8 Layer Burrito ($4.49) and the Epic Beyond Cali Burrito ($6.49) will be available in more than 580 Del Taco locations nationwide. The two look pretty similar, except the Epic Beyond Cali Burrito subs in french fries (!) for beans and is therefore presumably better for curing hangovers.
It’s no wonder that Del Taco is introducing more products featuring the plant-based beef. In the weeks following April’s widespread launch of Beyond Tacos, Del Taco reported an increase in both check size and traffic. According to an email from Del Taco, so far the chain has sold a whopping 2 million Beyond Tacos.
Del Taco isn’t the only fast-food restaurant experiencing an uptick in sales after introducing new meatless products to their menus. Burger King decided to roll out the Impossible Whopper nationwide after only one month of testing, during which its pilot location in St. Louis saw an 18 percent increase in sales. White Castle reps also stated that sales of the Impossible Slider exceeded expectations and that the new product appealed to both new and existing customers.
Skeptics may question whether these sales bumps are just that — bumps. Once the novelty wears off, will consumers keep returning to certain restaurants just to get the Impossible Whopper or Epic Beyond Cali Burrito?
Seeing as the alternative meat market is rising at a CAGR of 6.8 percent with no sign of slowing, my bet is yes. However, as more and more fast-food restaurants embrace plant-based meat (except for you, Arby’s), chains will have to come up with new ways to differentiate themselves and lure in curious consumers.
We’ll see if the new Beyond Burritos can help Del Taco lure diners away from Mexican fast-food competitor Qdoba, who serves bowls and tacos made with Impossible “beef,” or Taco Bell, which has a vegetarian menu (though no plant-based meat).
Adding french fries into the mix can’t hurt.