Taco Bell set to launch more Australian stores

Taco Bell is set to open more stores in Australia.
Taco Bell is set to open more stores in Australia.

A single Brisbane test store for US mexican food giant Taco Bell looks set to spawn multiple across Australia, with the brand planning on branching out in the new financial year.

Collins Foods, which has the Australian rights to KFC, opened Australia’s first Taco Bell restaurant in Annerley and says in its annual report that “further restaurants (are) to follow in FY19”.

“We are pleased with the acceptance of the Taco Bell brand by Australian consumers,’ the company says in a statement.

Commercial Insights: Subscribe to receive the latest news and updates

“We have entered an exciting new phase with the successful launch of our first Taco Bell restaurant, with further restaurants to follow over the next 12 months.”

A number of Sizzler restaurants, which also fall under Collins Foods but are in quick decline, are expected to be rebranded as Taco Bells.

While Taco Bell is a fast food behemoth in the United States, with more than 7000 restaurants across the country, it has never managed to take off in Australia.

Previous attempts saw it open a store in Sydney in the 1980s and again in 1997 but quickly pull the pin on both occasions.

And the Mexican food market has never been more competitive in Australia, with stores including the long-running Taco Bill, as well as new entrants including Guzman Y Gomez, Mad Mex and Salsa’s.

But with Collins Foods announcing a 21.7% profit jump to $32.5 million for the last financial year, it is now planning a rapid expansion that will see it open a number of stores before the end of the year.

“Fast food is extremely competitive with lots of options. The landscape is more saturated and it’s harder for fast food operators to stand out,” Ibis World senior industry analyst Bao Vuong told news.com.au.

“Taco Bell have unsuccessfully tried to expand into Australia before but I think people are now more embracing of international cuisines, especially Mexican, so it’s an untapped market and there is potential for it to succeed.”

Fast food is enjoying a boom in Australia, with investors buying in because of the long, secure leases being taken up by major brands.