Del Taco And Its Queso: A Fast-Food Lover's Silent Scream

LOS ANGELES , September 24, 2018 () – Every time I go to a Del Taco these days, I want to scream in frustration.

It’s not that I don’t like Del Taco. Actually, I like it very much and in fact am currently writing this blog while partaking in its 2-for-$5 mix-and-match burrito special. I’m having a grilled chicken burrito, a beef burrito and added a side of queso.

And that’s the part that makes me want to scream: the queso.

You see, months ago Del Taco came out with its queso sauce. If memory serves, the queso was initially offered for free as part of a special promotion. I remember trying it back then and thinking: “This isn’t bad. Good flavor. But it’s a little spicy for my taste. I think I like the nacho cheese sauce better.”

But the next time I went to Del Taco, I ordered some Macho Nachos and was surprised to find that it was queso, not nacho cheese sauce, that adorned my chips. When I tried to give the nachos back so I can get my preferred order, I was told the following:

We don’t have nacho cheese sauce anymore. It’s been replaced by queso.

Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa! Who among the Del Taco brass thought it was a good idea to replace the nacho cheese with queso? You want to offer something new? Fine. But don’t offer it as a replacement! Especially when what you’re replacing has been a staple on the menu for years. 

It’s like when you have a chair in your house that’s been in your living room for the past 30 years. Sure, the chair has mileage on it, but it’s your chair. It’s been conformed to your body and offers you regular comfort. Imagine if you came home one day and found that chair unexpectedly replaced by another chair. Sure the new chair may look nicer and have a few bells and whistles, but it’s not your chair. You can’t just replace your chair. It doesn’t feel the same, especially if it was replaced without your knowledge or permission.

Del Taco (and other fast-food chains contemplating such moves) should take a lesson from Burger King. The home of the Whopper has the Crispy Chicken Sandwich and Crispy Chicken Tenders on its menu, the items being touted as being of a higher quality than its other chicken products like its chicken nuggets or Original Chicken Sandwich. And you know what? It’s true. The new crispy items do taste of a higher quality. However, the “lesser quality” chicken products are still on the menu. Why? Because people like them! There’s still a market for them. Rather than forcing a replacement down customers’ throats, Burger King gave them a choice. Burger King didn’t replace. It added.

I can’t imagine that there wasn’t enough room on Del Taco’s menu for two kinds of cheese sauce. If nacho cheese was still available, my feelings on the queso would be completely different. Heck, I’d even like the fact that there was a second option and would probably choose that option from time to time for a change of pace. But now my feelings on Del Taco’s queso are forever ruined because my nacho cheese was taken away from me.

It’s like someone taking away my favorite chair.

Nevin Barich is the Food and Beverage Analyst for Industry Intelligence, which can help YOU better address your own industry challenges. We invite you to come take a look at our service. Call us today at 310-553-0008 and we’ll schedule you for a 15-minute demo.

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