Taco Bell vs Del Taco: A Battle of Fast Food Favorites

In the world of fast food, two major players sit atop the throne of Mexican-inspired cuisine: Taco Bell and Del Taco. Both have long-lasting histories and fiercely loyal customer bases, making them go-to options when cravings for quick-service tacos, burritos, and more strike. As you dive into this article, you’ll uncover the key differences between these two chains, offering valuable insight into their menus, prices, and overall dining experiences.

Taco Bell, founded in 1962 by Glen Bell, has established itself as a household name across the globe, with thousands of locations in various countries. Del Taco, on the other hand, began in 1964 under the guidance of Ed Hackbarth and David Jameson, and has become a beloved regional chain, primarily located on the West Coast of the United States. Both restaurants have their own unique selling points, and we’re here to help you understand what sets them apart.

Key Takeaways

  • Taco Bell and Del Taco both offer a variety of Mexican-inspired fast food items, but their menus and prices differ.
  • The dining experiences at each chain can be distinct, with variations in atmosphere, service, and location.
  • Both restaurants have a significant impact on the fast food market, but their sales and market shares are not equal.

Historical Background

Taco Bell and Del Taco are two popular American fast-food chains that specialize in Mexican-inspired cuisine. It’s essential to understand their the historical background of each brand to appreciate their rise in the fast-food industry.

Taco Bell was founded by Glen Bell, an entrepreneur who opened his first hot dog stand, Bell’s Drive-In, in San Bernardino, California in 1948. Over the years, Glen Bell developed a passion for Mexican food and began selling hard-shell tacos at his hamburger stand. In 1962, he opened the first Taco Bell restaurant in Downey, California. The brand quickly gained popularity, and by 1967, Taco Bell had expanded to over 100 locations. PepsiCo acquired Taco Bell in 1978, and today, it operates more than 7,000 restaurants globally.

Del Taco has its roots in a small restaurant called Casa Del Taco, founded by Ed Hackbarth and David Jameson in Yermo, California in 1964. The fast-food chain, known for its combination of Mexican and American dishes such as tacos, burritos, and burgers, quickly expanded throughout Southern California. In 1978, Del Taco merged with competitor, Naugles, to form the Del Taco-Naugles chain. As of today, Del Taco operates over 600 locations across the United States.

Both Taco Bell and Del Taco experienced rapid expansion in the 1970s. Their continual growth can be attributed to their unique Mexican-American menu offerings, making them popular choices among fast-food lovers. As you continue to explore these chains, remember the hard work and determination that the founders put into building their respective brands, which has culminated in their current success.

Identifying Taco Bell and Del Taco

When deciding between Taco Bell and Del Taco, it’s important to understand the key differences between these two fast-food chains. Both establishments specialize in serving Mexican-inspired cuisine such as tacos, burritos, and nachos with a focus on convenience and affordability.

Taco Bell is a well-known international chain, founded in 1962 by Glen Bell in Downey, California. With over 7,000 locations, it has become a popular destination for customers seeking a quick Mexican-style meal. The menu at Taco Bell features a variety of options, including:

  • Soft and crunchy tacos with beef, chicken, or steak
  • Burritos with a range of fillings and flavors
  • Quesadillas, nachos, and Crunchwraps
  • Specialty items such as Chalupas and Doritos Locos Tacos

Del Taco, on the other hand, is a smaller American chain that dates back to 1964 when it was founded by Ed Hackbarth and David Jameson in Yermo, California. Though it has fewer locations than Taco Bell, with around 600 establishments, Del Taco still offers a diverse menu, including:

  • Traditional tacos with both soft and crunchy shells
  • A variety of burritos, including those with a focus on freshness like the Epic line
  • American classics such as burgers, fries, and shakes
  • Breakfast options and unique dessert items

As you explore both Taco Bell and Del Taco, you’ll notice that each chain offers its own unique approach to popular Mexican dishes. While Taco Bell tends to lean into innovation and creative flavors, Del Taco emphasizes freshness and variety, incorporating more traditional menu items alongside American fast food options.

Ultimately, the choice between Taco Bell and Del Taco will depend on your personal preferences and what you’re looking for in a dining experience. Whether you prefer the wide reach and inventive offerings of Taco Bell or the diverse menu and commitment to freshness of Del Taco, both establishments provide an accessible and enjoyable way to satisfy your cravings for Mexican-inspired fast food.

Breakdown of Menu Offerings

Tacos and Burritos

When comparing Taco Bell and Del Taco, you’ll notice some similarities and differences in their taco and burrito offerings. Taco Bell is famous for their Doritos Locos Tacos, which feature a crunchy taco shell made from Doritos chips. Del Taco also offers a variety of tacos, such as their Del Taco Taco, which is a traditional hard-shell taco.

Both Taco Bell and Del Taco serve various types of burritos. Taco Bell’s Burrito Supreme is filled with beef, rice, beans, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and sour cream. Del Taco’s Bean and Cheese Burrito stands out with a simple yet flavorful combination of refried beans and cheese.

Some Taco Bell items include:

  • Soft Taco Supreme
  • Crunchy Taco
  • Quesarito

While Del Taco offers options like:

  • Classic Grilled Chicken Burrito
  • Epic Steak and Potato Burrito
  • 8 Layer Veggie Burrito

Speciality Items

Taco Bell and Del Taco also offer some unique specialty items on their menus. Taco Bell has the Chalupa Supreme, a deep-fried flatbread filled with meat, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and sour cream. Additionally, Taco Bell is known for their various quesadilla options, often featuring a blend of cheeses and seasoned meat.

Del Taco, on the other hand, boasts of their Queso Blanco and Chips and Guac as part of their Tex-Mex choices. They also provide a more extensive selection of bowls and salads for those seeking lighter options.

Beverages and Desserts

To complete your meal, both chains offer a range of beverages and desserts. Taco Bell is known for their Mountain Dew Baja Blast, an exclusive soft drink with a unique flavor. They also have various freezes and a selection of coffees. Del Taco serves a variety of handcrafted lemonades and iced teas along with shakes and smoothies.

In terms of desserts, Taco Bell’s Cinnabon Delights and Cinnamon Twists provide a sweet ending to your meal. Del Taco offers churros and cheesecake bites, giving you a delicious way to indulge your sweet tooth.

Taste and Preparation

When it comes to taste and preparation, both Taco Bell and Del Taco have their unique approaches. You will find that each restaurant chain has its strengths and weaknesses, depending on personal preferences.

At Taco Bell, you can expect a distinctive seasoning blend in their seasoned beef. This flavor distinguishes them from other fast-food Mexican establishments. Their menu also features items with crispy chicken and grilled chicken, offering you a variety of textures and tastes to choose from.

Del Taco, on the other hand, is known for its fresh ingredients and flavorful seasonings. Their salsa, which is made daily, adds a burst of freshness to their meals. Del Taco’s hot sauce is a crowd favorite, and when you add a sprinkle of cilantro, it brings their dishes to a whole new level.

Both Taco Bell and Del Taco strive to provide an enjoyable and satisfying experience. However, your choice might come down to individual preferences in seasoning, sauces, and ingredient freshness. Ultimately, it’s essential to consider which aspects of taste and preparation are most important to you when choosing between these two fast-food Mexican chains.

Variety and Special Diet Offerings

When it comes to variety, both Taco Bell and Del Taco offer an extensive menu to satisfy your cravings. Taco Bell is widely known for its creative offerings, such as the Doritos Locos Tacos, Cheesy Gordita Crunch, and the Crunchwrap Supreme. Del Taco, on the other hand, takes pride in its customizable menu options, offering a wider selection of ingredients like avocado, bacon, and various salsas to mix and match with your meal.

In recent years, both fast-food chains have made strides in catering to special dietary needs. For vegans and vegetarians, Taco Bell provides a range of options easily made meat-free by substituting beans for meat or opting for the fresco style to remove cheese and sour cream. Some popular vegan options at Taco Bell include:

  • Black Bean Crunchwrap Supreme
  • Bean Burrito
  • Spicy Tostada
  • Power Menu Bowl – Veggie

Del Taco also caters to the growing vegan and vegetarian market. They have partnered with Beyond Meat to offer plant-based protein substitutes for many of their menu items. This allows you to enjoy classics such as tacos and burritos with a meat-free protein option. Some special diet offerings at Del Taco include:

  • Beyond Avocado Taco (vegan)
  • Beyond Taco (vegetarian with modification)
  • Epic Beyond Original Mex Burrito (vegetarian)

In addition, Del Taco goes a step further by providing gluten-sensitive options, making it easier for those with dietary restrictions to enjoy their meals worry-free.

From classic Tex-Mex favorites to innovative and unique creations, both Taco Bell and Del Taco have plenty to offer in terms of variety and special diet options. Whether you’re in the mood for a quick meal or looking to satisfy a specific craving, there’s something for everyone at these two popular fast-food chains.

Value and Prices

When comparing Taco Bell and Del Taco, it’s crucial to consider the value and prices of their menu items. As a customer, you want to get the most out of your money while still enjoying delicious food.

At Taco Bell, you can find a variety of options on their value menu, known as the “Cravings Value Menu.” This menu offers items priced between $1 and $2, such as soft tacos, burritos, and nachos. Moreover, Taco Bell frequently offers promotions and deals to help you save even more. For example, they occasionally provide combo deals and limited-time offers, giving you the chance to taste new items at a discounted price.

Del Taco, on the other hand, prides itself on its “Buck and Under Menu.” This menu consists of various items priced at $1 or less, including mini quesadillas, tacos, and bean-and-cheese burritos. Additionally, Del Taco has combo meal options that bundle popular items together, allowing you to save money while enjoying a satisfying meal.

Here are some examples of Taco Bell and Del Taco value menu items:

Taco Bell – Cravings Value Menu:

  • Beefy Fritos Burrito: $1.00
  • Cheesy Bean and Rice Burrito: $1.00
  • Spicy Potato Soft Taco: $1.00
  • Shredded Chicken Quesadilla Melt: $1.00
  • Triple Layer Nachos: $1.00

Del Taco – Buck and Under Menu:

  • Value Taco: $0.79
  • Chicken Roller: $1.00
  • Mini Bacon Quesadilla: $1.00
  • Value Bean and Cheese Burrito: $0.79
  • Crunchtada Tostada: $1.00

While both Taco Bell and Del Taco offer affordable menu items and value deals, their actual pricing may vary depending on your location. Always check your local restaurant for the most accurate and up-to-date prices.

In conclusion, when looking for value and reasonable prices, both Taco Bell and Del Taco have available options on their respective menus. Depending on your preferences, each restaurant offers appealing choices that cater to those seeking tasty meals without breaking the bank.

Restaurant Locations

When deciding between Taco Bell and Del Taco, the availability of locations plays a significant role in your choice. Taco Bell, being a bigger chain, has over 7,000 locations across the United States and in various international countries. You can find Taco Bell restaurants in urban areas, suburban neighborhoods, and even some rural locales. This makes it more likely that you will come across a Taco Bell restaurant during your daily routine or travels.

Del Taco, on the other hand, has a smaller presence with around 600 locations primarily in the United States. They have a strong presence in their home state of California and have expanded to other states such as Nevada, Arizona, and Colorado. Though their footprint is smaller than Taco Bell’s, Del Taco does bring a more local flavor to the regions where they operate.

Both Taco Bell and Del Taco are continuously expanding their reach for you, the customers. To find the nearest location to you, each restaurant has a location finder on their respective websites. This will help you plan your next visit to either establishment.

Atmosphere and Service

When you visit Taco Bell, you’ll immediately notice the lively, modern vibe. The ambience is quite contemporary with bright colors, bold graphics, and a mix of seating options, including booths and high-top tables. Most Taco Bell locations offer both indoor and outdoor seating areas, so you can choose where you’d prefer to enjoy your meal. The dining rooms tend to be relatively clean and well-maintained.

At Del Taco, the atmosphere is more casual and relaxed. The dining rooms feature a palate of neutral colors and simple décor, giving off a laid-back ambience. You may find a variety of seating options, including traditional tables and booths. Some locations also provide outdoor seating, allowing you to dine al fresco if you wish. Like Taco Bell, Del Taco’s dining rooms are generally kept clean and tidy.

Both Taco Bell and Del Taco offer drive-thru services for your convenience. When utilizing the drive-thru, you can expect a straightforward process and clear communication from the staff. At Taco Bell, you’ll find large digital menu boards, making it easy to browse your options and make a quick decision. Del Taco’s drive-thru also features easy-to-read menu boards, ensuring a smooth experience.

In terms of service, Taco Bell and Del Taco staff are generally friendly and efficient. You can usually expect your order to be prepared accurately and within a reasonable timeframe. Both chains strive to provide good customer service and rectify any mistakes that may occur during your visit.

To sum up, both Taco Bell and Del Taco provide their own distinct atmosphere and similar levels of service. Your personal preference may dictate which chain you find more appealing for the overall dining experience.

Competitors Comparison

When comparing Taco Bell and Del Taco, it’s important to consider their position within the wider fast-food industry. While both brands primarily focus on Mexican-inspired cuisine, you’ll find they have different offerings within their menus and competition with other fast-food chains such as In-N-Out and Jack in the Box.

Taco Bell vs. Del Taco: Menu Offerings

At Taco Bell, you can expect a wide variety of options with their famous Crunchwrap Supreme, Chalupas, and Doritos Locos Tacos. Del Taco, on the other hand, offers a more extensive range, including traditional tacos, burritos, and even American-styled items like burgers and fries.

Competition with other brands

In addition to competing against each other, Taco Bell and Del Taco face competition from other fast-food chains such as In-N-Out and Jack in the Box. In-N-Out primarily focuses on burgers and fries, which means they compete more directly with Del Taco’s American-styled offerings. Jack in the Box offers a hybrid menu, making them a direct competitor for both Taco Bell and Del Taco.

Comparing the chains

Here’s a simple table to see how these fast-food chains stack up against each other:

ChainFood FocusDirect Competitor
Taco BellMexican-inspired cuisineDel Taco, Jack in the Box
Del TacoMexican and AmericanTaco Bell, Jack in the Box
In-N-OutBurgers and friesDel Taco, Jack in the Box
Jack in the BoxVariety of optionsTaco Bell, Del Taco, In-N-Out

Other Competitors

It’s worth noting that both Taco Bell and Del Taco also compete with other fast-food chains such as Pizza Hut. Though not a direct competitor in terms of menu items, Pizza Hut can still impact their customer base by offering non-Mexican alternatives.

In conclusion, you’ll find that Taco Bell and Del Taco have their unique offerings and competition in the fast-food industry. By understanding their menu options and competition, you can make informed decisions when choosing between them.

Sales and Market Impact

When comparing Taco Bell and Del Taco, it’s important to take a look at their sales and Market impact. Both of these fast-food chains are popular in the United States, but they have different market shares and performance.

Taco Bell, being a widely recognized brand and a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, has a more extensive market presence. In 2020, Taco Bell generated over $10 billion in sales in the United States, clearly showcasing its strong dominance in the fast-food market. Over the years, Taco Bell has been able to create a loyal customer base, thanks to its innovative marketing strategies and evolving menu.

Del Taco, on the other hand, is a smaller player in the market. In 2020, Del Taco generated a total of just over $500 million in sales. While this number is significantly smaller than Taco Bell’s, it still demonstrates the chain’s continued growth and success in the industry. Del Taco differentiates itself by offering a wider range of menu items, including fresher ingredients and a mix of both American and Mexican fast food.

The market impact of these two chains is quite simple to gauge. Taco Bell has a more substantial influence due to its higher sales and larger number of locations. With over 7,000 locations in the United States, Taco Bell can effectively reach a broader audience and has the advantage of visibility in more regions. Their market strategies and advertising campaigns often capture the public’s attention, further solidifying their place in the fast-food industry.

On the other hand, Del Taco has around 600 locations in the United States, which translates to a smaller market share. While this number is not as impressive as Taco Bell, they still manage to consistently maintain a dedicated customer base due to their unique offerings and quality ingredients. Despite having a smaller market impact, Del Taco continues to grow and expand, slowly increasing its presence in the industry.

In conclusion, when it comes to sales and market impact, Taco Bell undoubtedly takes the lead with its higher sales and larger market presence. Meanwhile, Del Taco, a smaller but thriving chain, continues to hold its ground, offering a unique and diverse menu that appeals to a dedicated group of consumers.

Additional Points of Interest

When it comes to the fast-food industry, Taco Bell and Del Taco have always been in competition. You might be interested to know about some additional points that separate these two giants.

According to Business Insider, Taco Bell has an advantage over Del Taco in terms of market share and global presence. However, Del Taco offers a wider variety of menu items, including burgers and fries, alongside their traditional Mexican offerings.

One of the key differentiating factors for customers is the sauces each chain offers. Taco Bell is known for its secret sauce, which is used in many of its dishes like the Crunchwrap Supreme. On the other hand, Del Taco boasts about its delicious range of sauces, including:

  • Mild Sauce: A gentle blend of spices, perfect for those who prefer a milder kick.
  • Del Scorcho Sauce: A bolder sauce that brings the heat, ideal for spice lovers.
  • Zesty Red: A tangy sauce that adds an extra dimension of flavor to any dish.

These distinctive sauces have loyal fans on both sides, and many customers base their preference for one chain over the other on the unique flavors each sauce brings to their meal.

To sum it up, Taco Bell and Del Taco both offer their unique takes on fast-food Mexican cuisine. While Taco Bell holds a larger market share, Del Taco’s diverse menu and range of sauces cater to a wider assortment of tastes. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which chain satisfies your cravings the best.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which has better breakfast options: Taco Bell or Del Taco?

Both Taco Bell and Del Taco offer a variety of breakfast options to suit different preferences. Taco Bell’s breakfast menu includes items such as Breakfast Crunchwraps, Breakfast Burritos, and Breakfast Quesadillas. On the other hand, Del Taco offers options like the Breakfast Rollers, Epic Scrambler Burritos, and Breakfast Toasted Wraps. It ultimately depends on your specific taste preferences and whether you prefer items like Crunchwraps or breakfast rollers.

How does the nutrition of Taco Bell compare to Del Taco?

The nutritional value of menu items will vary between Taco Bell and Del Taco, as well as within each restaurant’s menu. It is important to consider the specific item you are ordering and review its nutritional information to make an informed decision about which option is healthier for you. Comparing items side by side and considering factors such as calorie count, fat content, and sodium levels will help you in making a better choice for your dietary needs.

Are there healthier options at Taco Bell or Del Taco?

Both Taco Bell and Del Taco offer healthier options on their menus for those looking to make more health-conscious food choices. At Taco Bell, you can explore their Fresco menu, which features items with reduced calorie and fat content by replacing heavier ingredients with fresh pico de gallo. Del Taco, on the other hand, has their Del Lite Menu, which highlights items lower in calories and fat. It’s important to review specific menu items and their nutritional information to make the healthiest choice for your lifestyle.

What are the differences between Taco Bell and Del Taco menus?

The most apparent differences between Taco Bell and Del Taco menus are the variety of offerings and distinctive items available at each restaurant. While both serve classic items like tacos, burritos, and quesadillas, each brand has its unique menu items. Taco Bell is known for its innovative and creative items, like their Crunchwrap Supreme, Doritos Locos Tacos, and Cheesy Gordita Crunch. In contrast, Del Taco offers items like their Beer Battered Fish Tacos, Crinkle Cut Fries, and Epic Burritos. Your preference might guide you to one restaurant over the other.

Who has a longer history: Taco Bell or Del Taco?

Taco Bell has a more extended history, as it was founded in 1962 by Glen Bell in Downey, California. In contrast, Del Taco was founded in 1964 by Ed Hackbarth and David Jameson in Yermo, California. Although Taco Bell has been around for a longer time, both restaurants have built a loyal customer base and continue to grow across the United States.

Are Taco Bell and Del Taco owned by the same company?

No, Taco Bell and Del Taco are not owned by the same company. Taco Bell is owned by Yum! Brands, a multinational fast-food corporation that also owns other well-known brands like KFC, Pizza Hut, and The Habit Burger Grill. On the other hand, Del Taco is owned by Del Taco Restaurants Inc., which is an independent entity. Although both fast-food chains serve Mexican-inspired foods, they are separate companies with different ownership structures.

Taco Bell vs Del Taco + Recipe

Here's a recipe for a copycat Del Taco Crunchy Beef Taco:
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 10
Calories 256 kcal


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 package taco seasoning mix
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 12 hard taco shells
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 cup Del Taco Mild Sauce


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • In a large skillet, cook the ground beef over medium heat until browned and cooked through.
  • Add the taco seasoning mix and water to the skillet and stir to combine.
  • Reduce the heat to low and let the beef mixture simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, arrange the taco shells on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 5 minutes.
  • To assemble the tacos, fill each taco shell with a spoonful of the beef mixture, then top with shredded lettuce, cheddar cheese, diced tomatoes, and onions.
  • Drizzle Del Taco Mild Sauce over the top of each taco and serve immediately.


You can adjust the toppings to your liking or add other ingredients such as sour cream or guacamole. Enjoy!


Calories: 256kcal
Keyword taco bell vs del taco
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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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