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Qdoba Street Tacos

Authentic vs. Convenient: Street Tacos

March 23, 2011

HI BROW: Inspired by “antojitos Mexicanos” on his many exploratory culinary trips to Mexico, Qdoba’s head chef developed these limited time only tacos to showcase vibrant, authentic street food flavors in a QSR setting. They also compete with the more authentic street tacos offered by food trucks in various cities across the United States by staffing a groovy truck and serving up fare in some of America’s hipper locations, such as Capitol Hill in Seattle.

LO BROW: Taco Bell has historically considered itself Mexican-inspired, but consumers are finding the flavor and quality of family-owned taco trucks to be far superior. One consumer said he was excited to try the Cantina Tacos, but was disappointed to find there “wasn't even another salsa option, just the same old Taco Bell hot sauce packets.” The short story is that Taco Bell is about convenience. From number of locations and hours of operation, to the late-night drive-thru factor, this is what brings customers back. We don’t see this as particularly sustainable in the long-term as we’re experiencing a surge of fresher and more authentic flavors at actual cantinas—from those in Home Depot parking lots to trucks that twitter their locations far and wide to hungry (and trendy) masses.

TAKE AWAY: Thanks to the likes of Chipotle, finding fresher, less processed food during one’s lunch hour isn’t an impossible feat. So why is it so difficult for some operators to grasp that consumers are gravitating towards more distinctive flavors? What Taco Bell missed and Qdoba nailed is that street food is about higher-quality ingredients and at least a nod toward authenticity. Consumers get that Qdoba’s street tacos are made by a pretty big corporation, yet they appreciate the fresh and playful approach to the food truck craze.

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Press Archive


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