Taco Bell to take bigger bite of UK market with high street push

Taco Bell is looking to push the brand beyond its US homeland with an expansion drive across the UK and Europe.

Taco Bell is trialling a new restaurant layout that could be extended to all its new stores in Europe.

The fast food maker, which sells a variety of Mexican-inspired items including tacos and burritos, is opening its first high street restaurant in the UK today (25 September). Located in Sheffield, the restaurant hopes to target students at a nearby university through lower price points to rival chains such as McDonald’s and a revamped branding strategy.

Localised marketing encourages consumers to “Get more out of life” by playing up the quality ingredients that make the food as well as the chain’s customer service. Visitors have a view into the “open kitchen” where both team members and ingredients are on display as everything is made to order. Additionally, free Wi-Fi and mobile charging stations will be made accessible to customers.

The restaurant design is the first of its kind globally and should it prove popular it will serve as the template for future stores throughout Europe.

Nick Dawson, general manager for Taco Bell UK and Europe, says: “Over recent years we’ve had fans from numerous cities across the UK requesting a Taco Bell on their high street, and Sheffield was high up on the list of demand.

“As the UK’s fifth largest city, with a huge student population, Sheffield is a great location for Taco Bell and we are proud to be partnering with our franchisee Northgate Fast Foods to add a new flavour to the restaurant options in the city. Customers want choice, and Taco Bell brings something different to the High Street, as well as customers’ taste buds, creating an experience and relationship that goes beyond food.”

The chain’s international expansion chimes with the promotion of Taco Bell’s former marketing chief Brian Niccol to chief executive at the beginning of 2015. He will assume responsibility of the restaurant’s bid to double system sales to $14bn (£8.6bn) by 2022 and opening 2,000 new restaurants, a strategy dependent on growing the business internationally.

Taco Bell owner Yum! generates limited sales from outside the US, which houses the majority of its 6,500 restaurants. Around 250 stores exist outside the region with just three Taco Bell concessions in food courts across the UK.

The business said results for Taco Bell were “mixed” in its latest quarter due to a challenging US market with profits declining 2 per cent year-on-year.

In March, Taco Bell introduced a breakfast menu, its largest menu addition and marketing drive to date, in order to cut into McDonald’s dominance of the meal occasion. Since it launched, the business has said numbers remain “relatively stable” with further additions to the range on the way.

Hide Comments1 Show Comment

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here