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last updated 29/10/2019

Taco Bell confirms first NZ store in West Auckland

last updated 29/10/2019

4 October 2019 – Taco Bell will open its very first New Zealand restaurant in West Auckland

After months of hype as to where and when the first Taco Bell restaurant will open, the world’s largest Mexican-inspired quick-service restaurant brand has confirmed its first new home will be in The Brickworks at LynnMall.

‘We’re thrilled to reveal Taco Bell will be opening its doors in Auckland, early this November,’ says Clark Wilson, General Manager Taco Bell NZ.

Taco Bell is being brought to New Zealand by Restaurant Brands, the company which also owns the local master licences for KFC, Pizza Hut and Carl’s Jr. The company sold off its struggling Starbucks operation in New Zealand for $4.4m in 2018.

Restaurant Brands describes itself as a ‘corporate franchisee’, generally preferring to operate outlets itself rather than franchise to individual operators. The exception to this is Pizza Hut, which has some 60 franchised stores. It seems unlikely that Taco Bell will be offered as a franchise opportunity in the near future.

A long time coming

Taco Bell has over 7,000 outlets in the USA, plus more than 500 Taco Bell restaurants across nearly 30 other countries. After an abortive attempt to enter Australia in 1981-2005, the brand returned there in 2017 with a plan to open 50 stores there by 2021.

Restaurant Brands has been teasing the New Zealand market with the prospect of the brand since at least 2001, when it announced that it was planning to launch the chain in New Zealand although it would be ‘some time’ before the time was right. In 2011, it started evaluating the opportunity. Since then, Kiwis’ appetite for Mexican food has been developed by successful brands such as Mexico – just launched as a franchise opportunity – and Mexicali Fresh.

Brand value

As a well-known name from overseas, Taco Bell is expected to generate immediate interest and, probably, massive sales during its opening period. Whether it will be as successful long-term remains to be seen; as Restaurant Brands found with Starbucks, a big name isn’t necessarily enough when there are already-established (and better) local competitors in the market.

However, the company can be expected to have learned from that experience and has since successfully launched the less well-known Carl’s Jr. into the crowded burger market. While Restaurant Brands’ star performer, KFC, has a less than healthy image,  Taco Bell has positioned itself as one of the best fast food chains for healthy food in the USA.

Kiwi Property’s GM - Asset Management, Linda Trainer says they’re delighted New Zealand’s first taste of Taco Bell will be landing at The Brickworks.

‘It's great to have such an iconic global brand coming to our shores and we're delighted they chose LynnMall as their local home. Since opening four years ago, The Brickworks continues to attract a great selection of restaurants. The arrival of Taco Bell brings a new and exciting experience to complement our fantastic West Auckland hospitality scene.’

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