Research Central

Top 10 Mexican Food and Taco Franchises

02-01-2021 by Emily Hagen
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Restaurants, eateries, and fast food remain a prevalent industry within franchising. Particularly with specialty restaurants like Mexican food, there will always be a high demand just about anywhere in the country. Everyone loves a good taco!


So is investing in a Mexican food franchise a good idea? It certainly can be, provided that the business model and support system is adequately set up for your success. We’ve put together a brief list of some things to look for when deciding on a franchise:


  • Strong brand recognition and reputation

  • Fresh ingredients and diverse menu items

  • A strong business model

  • Support and training for prospective franchisees

  • A favorable financial performance representation in the franchise disclosure document

  • A track record of success

Our Top Ten Picks

Even though most Mexican restaurants and eating establishments are not 100% authentic Mexican, the Mexican-American hybrid cuisine has become a staple in American culture. Who doesn’t love taco Tuesday, after all?


We’ve done the research and identified the ten most popular Mexican food franchise opportunities. We’ll be including Mexican restaurants, Mexican inspired eateries, and fast-casual Mexican food, burrito franchises, and taco franchises.

1. Taco Bell

Established in 1962

Franchising since 1964

Initial investment: $570,600 - $3,049,100

Royalty fee: 5.5%

Ad royalty fee: 4.25%

Locations: 7,135

Notable features: franchises can be built with or without a drive-thru option.

2. Qdoba Mexican Eats

Established in: 1995

Franchising since: 1997

Initial investment: $475,000 - $1,095,000

Royalty fee: 5%

Ad royalty fee: 3%

Locations: 730

Other Requirements: 5 years of relevant experience

Notable features: popular in airports and universities

3. Moe’s Southwest Grill

Established in 2000

Franchising since 2001

Initial investment: $457,400 - $911,500

Royalty fee: 5%

Ad royalty fee: 2-4%

Locations: 720

Notable features: Franchisor prefers franchisees that can commit to opening three units

4. Del Taco Fresh Mexican Grill

Established in 1964

Franchising since 1967

Initial investment: $859,700 – $2,116,500

Royalty fee: 5%

Ad royalty fee: 4%

Locations: 596

Notable features: market-specific incentive program with reduced franchise fee and royalties

5. Taco John’s 

Established in 1985

Franchising since 1985

Initial investment: $942,000 - $1,388,500

Royalty fee: 5%

Ad royalty fee: 4%

Locations: 391

Notable features: Average revenue for the top performing 25% of locations is $1.51M.

6. TacoTime

Established in 1960

Franchising since 1962

Initial investment: $331,150 - $636,800

Royalty fee: 6%

Ad royalty fee: 4%

Locations: 220

Notable features: 125 additional locations internationally

7. TacoBueno

Established in 1967

Franchising since 2004

Initial investment: $639,000 - $1,593,000

Royalty fee: 5%

Ad royalty fee: 5%

Locations: 180

Notable features: the brand originated in Texas and offers an authentic Tex-Mex experience. 



8. Fuzzy’s Taco Shop

Established in 2008

Franchising since 2008

Initial investment: $858,500 - $1,329,000

Royalty fee: 5%

Ad royalty fee: 2%

Locations: 147

Notable features: offers a discounted royalty fee of 3.5% for the first 52 weeks of operation.

9. Mucho Burrito

Established in 2006

Franchising since 2006

Initial investment: $282,500 - $649,500

Royalty fee: 6%

Ad royalty fee: 3%

Locations: 100+

Notable features: boasts unique menu items like smoked peach and chili mango burrito bowls.

10. Chronic Tacos Mexican Grill

Established in 2002

Franchising since 2014

Initial investment: $294,000 - $801,000

Royalty fee: 6%

Ad royalty fee: 2%

Locations: 52

Notable features: their motto is “taco life,” and the brand certainly has a unique and lively aesthetic in addition to great food.

COVID-19 and the Food Service Industry

Delivery and takeout offerings have kept the restaurant industry afloat throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As dining rooms throughout the country were forced to close for public health and safety, restaurants that did not already have a convenient ordering system in place certainly had to adapt quickly. Food delivery platforms like Uber Eats and Door Dash exploded in popularity and helped numerous restaurants maintain a steady business influx. 


Proper employee management also became a bit more of a challenge in 2020. Restaurants have often had to manage with reduced staffing, with employees who fell ill or became exposed having to self-quarantine for two weeks. Even with dining rooms closed, enforcing safety policies, like physical distancing and requiring masks to be worn at all times, was necessary to ensure employee health and safety. 

Open Your Own Restaurant Franchise!

Are you interested in franchising? Whether you want to open a Mexican food franchise or something else entirely, Franchise123 can help you find the franchise that is right for you. Sign up today to get started!



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