Taco Bell Ousts Burger King to Snag No. 4 Spot Among U.S. Chains

Sales at the Tex-Mex restaurant jumped 5%, while Burger King continues to falter.

February 26, 2018

CHICAGO – Taco Bell surpassed Burger King to become the fourth-largest chain restaurant in the United States, according to a preliminary report by Technomic, Bloomberg reports. McDonald’s, Starbucks and Subway retained their first, second and third spots, respectively.

Taco Bell saw sales rise 5% systemwide in the United States to hit $9.8 billion last year. The Yum! Brands company found success with indulgent menu items, plus a robust $1 menu that captured the interest of millennials. The ranking switch also draws attention to the increasing popularity of Mexican food.

Taco Bell has become adept at garnering customer interest via crazy new menu items, such as fried-chicken taco shells, as well as its Live Mas marketing campaign. So far this year, the company has debuted $1 nacho fries. Also, the chain has expanded its drive-thru free Cantina locations into Southern California.

“They certainly continue to do pretty well, and bring out some interesting and new menu items,” said David Henkes, senior principal at Technomic. “They’ve done a good job of connecting with the millennials and Gen Z.”

On the other hand, Burger King has tough competition with a “resurgent McDonald’s,” Henkes said. In addition, upscale burger restaurants like Shake Shack have made significant inroads into the overall burger market share.