Del Taco stuffing new burrito for stoner market?

Without saying so explicitly, the fast-food restaurant seems to be targeting its latest belly bomb toward satisfying marijuana-induced late-night cravings.

By Jason Notte Apr 26, 2013 8:39AM
Del Taco's Chili Cheese Fry Burrito (© Del Taco)There's a demographic fast-food companies don't like to talk about -- but have been increasingly catering to with each bigger, more overstuffed culinary concoction.


You know them as stoners, and Del Taco has just the offering to attract more of their munchie dollars with its burrito stuffed with chili cheese fries, aptly named Chili Cheese Fry Burrito.


Both Del Taco and its competitors at Yum Brands' (YUM) Taco Bell will outright deny that they're courting a consumer base whose hunger is fueled by marijuana-induced cravings. But with Del Taco stuffing french fries into burritos and Taco Bell running ads implying that Nacho Cheese and Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos are shameful indulgences that should be hidden from friends and loved ones -- but are available as a late-night "fourthmeal" -- it doesn't exactly show they're averse to feeding voracious night owls whose favorite meals are wrapped in other meals.


Del Taco's Chili Cheese Fry Burrito, for example, takes crinkle-cut fries Del Taco was cooking up anyway, blends them into beef chili and cheddar cheese and wraps them all in a flour tortilla. It's the crowning achievement of a complete chain makeover for Del Taco that includes an updated logo, a "Buck & Under" menu, a new "UnFreshing Believable" slogan and a "New Tastes" menu featuring a Bacon Ranch Grilled Chicken Taco and a Fiery 6 Layer Burrito.


While Burger King (BKW) has slimmed down its menu offerings and McDonald's (MCD) is toying around with no-yolk Egg McMuffins, those fast-food chains recently have been unwilling to embrace their greasy underbelly and play to their fry-cooked strengths. But Taco Bell's Doritos-wrapped gambit for the college/last call/stoner demographics isn't only boosting sales but also saving the brand.


Long loyal to lower-tier fast-food chains like White Castle, Krystal and Checkers, the late-night grease gobbler is getting a lot more mainstream attention these days. Yum Brands' Pizza Hut tickled their taste buds by attaching bread bowls filled with cheese to its Crazy Cheesy Crust. Carl's Jr. (CKE) and Denny's (DENN) haven't been above offering a foot-long cheeseburger or a grilled-cheese sandwich stuffed with mozzarella sticks, respectively, to any diners who dared to order them.


Yet Del Taco is the only company that has even remotely indicated who its target customer is. With Del Taco locations in both Colorado and Washington state, which both voted to legalize recreational marijuana use, could it be just a coincidence that the Chili Cheese Fry Burrito's calories count is exactly 420?


More on moneyNOW

51Comments
Apr 26, 2013 9:17AM
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Identify a demand, create the supply to fill that demand, and make money.  The free market is a wonderful thing!
Apr 26, 2013 11:52AM
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If banks can cater money laundering services to drug cartels why cant Del Taco cater to people smoking weed?
Apr 26, 2013 9:45AM
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Stoners gotta eat to...right? why not grab their money while they have it, after all they might need it for another fat sack! LOL! I say let them target the "stoners"....if it brings new customers in to their fast food chains then consider it smart marketing. It's not like they can market to the meth heads...they don't eat! :)
Apr 26, 2013 9:19AM
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smart concept.  i'm not stoned right now, but that sounds like an interesting way to consumer chilli fries!
Apr 26, 2013 10:51AM
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I'm not sure why the article associates this trend with stoners.  People get hungry, not just stoners, and there are many others who chow down on high-calorie, high-fat fast food.
Apr 26, 2013 1:15PM
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Drug use has never been a new thing in America. Obama, Bush, and Clinton have all admitted to using weed and Bush even used cocaine. Why do all of them continue the war on drugs when they themselves violated the law?
Apr 26, 2013 10:05AM
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And today is WILLIE NELSON's birthday. Great marketing!
Apr 26, 2013 1:35PM
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i been shoven frys in my burritos for years almost as long as i been high.
Apr 26, 2013 1:40PM
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Del Taco Fries in a Burrito:-). Spark it up my friends!

Apr 26, 2013 1:51PM
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Not sure how this directly ties in with stoners; there's plenty of sober people that are eating it too. 
Apr 26, 2013 12:49PM
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Guess we know where Obama will be around 4:20
Apr 26, 2013 1:57PM
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Stoners are people too, all be it laid back people.  People like greasy chili laden burritos. That boys and girls is how money happens. Although you really want them to beat a path to the door. Put funyuns in it.
Apr 26, 2013 2:12PM
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Nothing new...Weinerschnitzel has had a Chili-Cheese Fry burrito on their value menu for quite some time now.  I always said the person who came up with this idea was either a genius or stoned out of his mind :)
Apr 26, 2013 1:31PM
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Weiner Snitzel however you spell it already made it....
Apr 26, 2013 2:29PM
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what do you think the doritos locos taco was made for..
Apr 26, 2013 1:57PM
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a french fry burrito?

 

really?

 

 

Apr 26, 2013 1:50PM
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wienerschnitzel already has a chili chese fry burrito... probably better than smell taco
Apr 26, 2013 3:10PM
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Saw an add in the local business school for a mock company called "420Burritos". Pretty good business model, lol.
Apr 26, 2013 2:14PM
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Hey! They got the link fixed. That burrito would be AWESOME, stoned or not!!!!
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