Mexican Fast Food Restaurants Closing and Opening Locations in 2022

Joel Eisenberg

Individual location considerations continue on a strategic basis for many.

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Authors Note

This article represents the latest in a series that attempts to elucidate the truth behind internet rumors of business closures, and is based on corporate postings and accredited media reports. Linked information within this article is attributed to the following outlets: NRN.com, Yum.com, RestaurantClicks.com, FOX46.com, RestaurantClicks.com, and MouthBySouthwest.com.

Introduction

According to a March, 2022 article from NRN.com, “It’s Official: Jack in the Box Inc. Now Owns Del Taco,” the $585 million acquisition as referred to in the title is largely looked upon as a positive business move for both parties: “Today marks an important milestone in our company’s history as we officially welcome Del Taco to the Jack in the Box family,” said Darin Harris, Jack in the Box’s CEO, in a statement. “We have ambitious growth plans for our combined company, and we are excited for the many exciting opportunities ahead. Together, Jack in the Box and Del Taco will benefit from a stronger financial model, gaining greater scale to invest in digital and technology capabilities, and unit growth for both brands.”

By virtue of this deal Del Taco, as a major national Mexican fast food chain behind Taco Bell and Chipotle, now has an authentic chance of competing for the top two spots.

The company is healthy, and in no danger of closing despite prior internet rumors to the contrary. As FOX46.com recently reported, Del Taco is opening five new locations in North Carolina. See here.

As it regards internet rumors pertaining to an aforementioned entity, a February, 2022 piece from RestaurantClicks.com, “The Truth Behind Rumors of Taco Bell Closing,” answers that pressing question: According to Nation’s Restaurant News, Taco Bell has seen a 3% growth within a single quarter since the rumors came out. This is attributed to adding delivery options to their service packages and bringing back fan-favorite menu items.

As to where the rumors began, according to the story? Money Pop was promoting an advertisement on its social media pages that led readers to believe the company was closing due to sharply dismissed profits. Taco Bell disputed the rumor, stating that it was in fact doing well financially, while outperforming its sister companies KFC and Pizza Hut, all owned by Yum Brands.

Other reports verify Taco Bell’s performance claims, despite some business dips over the past few years. For example, in September of 2021, SFGate.com published “One of the Oldest Taco Bell Locations in California is Closing.” The location in question was The Laguna Beach restaurant at 669 South Coast Highway.

Individual locations will likely continue to close due to under-performance and other issues, though the company itself will remain operational.

But what of smaller or less prestigious Mexican fast food chains? Who among them are shuttering individual locations?

Let us review further.

2022 Closures and Expansions

The Chipotle chain has turned around its fortunes, for one. Beset by lawsuits and food borne illnesses predominantly during the last decade, BusinessInsider.com published an article this past December, titled “Chipotle's Growth in 2021 Shows How It's Successfully Embracing the Future of Fast Food.” See here.

From the article: Digital sales made up nearly half of all Chipotle orders in the third quarter, at 42.8% of sales for $840.4 million. They were up 8.6% over the same period in 2020, which was the year digital orders really grew thanks in part to the COVID-19 pandemic. With continued investment, Chipotle expects them to continue growing. Restaurants that include a Chipotlane have about 15% higher sales than restaurants opened in the same period without the drive-thru lane, Chipotle said in a statement. Of the 41 new Chipotles that opened in Q3 2021, 36 of them have Chipotlanes, Chipotle’s version of a drive-thru.

The company has since announced expansion plans.

Baja Fresh and Moe’s Southwest Grill are among the Mexican restaurant chains listed in RestaurantClicks.com’s June, 2022 article, “Best Mexican Chain Restaurants in America,“ all of which are doing well, business-wise.

MouthBySouthwest.com reported in May news of a Juan Jaimes location closure in Chandler, Arizona, while its Scottsdale location is remaining open. See here. Though neither technically a chain nor fast food, the entity was considered a favorite local hangout since 2007.

Conclusion

Mexican restaurants of the fast food variety have largely done well in the first half of 2022. Some business paradigms have shifted, such as Del Taco’s acquisition by Jack in the Box, which may impact both new openings and closings moving forward.

For now, overall, business is good across the board.

Thank you for reading.

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I am an award-winning author, screenwriter for film and television, and producer. My mission on News Break is to share socially important perspectives on both culture and pop-culture. Member of PEN America, and the WGA.

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