Taco Bell Wants To Be The Biggest Fast Food Restaurant – Here's What That Actually Means

While McDonald's has long held the spot of the largest restaurant chain, thanks to its 38,000 locations in more than 100 countries, Taco Bell hopes to challenge that. Despite only having around 7,000 to McDonald's 13,444, the fast food chain's parent company Yum Brands was confident at the recent Bank of America and NYSE European Investor Conference. "We're just a little over half that [13,444]," Yum Brands CFO Chris Turner said, via Restaurant Business. "There's no reason we can't have the same number of restaurants in the U.S."

In 2023, Taco Bell ranks as the sixth largest restaurant brand in the United States, behind Subway and Hunt Brothers Pizza, but ahead of Burger King and Wendy's, according to Scrape Hero. Due to Taco Bell's menu never staying the same and producing popular items such as the Doritos Locos Tacos, the restaurant remains a hit with consumers. "We think there's going to be thousands more Taco Bells in the U.S.," Turner told the conference. Becoming just as big as McDonald's may be ambitious, but Yum Brands has some worthy goals to increase its sales and presence.

Taco Bell plan to add many more stores and increase sales

It's hard not to think of 1993's "Demolition Man" when we think of Taco Bell's desire to become the biggest fast food restaurant. "Taco Bell is the only restaurant to survive the franchise wars, so now all restaurants are Taco Bell," Sandra Bullock's Lenina Huxley tells Sylvester Stallone's John Spartan before they walk into an uber-upscale restaurant that has the familiar Taco Bell logo hanging out front. Looking back, maybe Taco Bell was planning nationwide dominance back in 1993.

Besides increasing its presence in the U.S., Taco Bell also plans to grow globally as well. It currently has more than 1,000 restaurants in other countries like the United Kingdom, Spain, and Japan, but it's been ramping up its presence by adding a lot of stores in each market they target. Thanks to this marketing strategy, four of their markets run 100 stores each.

Taco Bell has some distance to cover until they're as big as McDonald's, but they're hoping they can get there with their store growth and more in-store sales. "We have good breakfast and lunch business," Yum Brands CFO Chris Turner told the conference. "If we could get the same penetration as lunch as they [competitors] have, there's $1 million per-store opportunity there."