RETAIL AND RESTAURANTS : Del Taco Enters the Fast-Food Future With Its Concept 2000 Restaurants

Compiled by Greg Johnson, Times staff writer

Del Taco Inc. just opened a door to the future.

The Orange-based restaurant operator's Concept 2000 store opened this month in Hanford and is the first of the chain's new eateries to be built from the ground up. Earlier, Del Taco converted an existing unit in Irvine.

The new store and the remodeled unit will serve as the model for future restaurants. "The design plays right into our plans to grow the Del Taco chain across the country," said Kevin Moriarty, Del Taco's chairman and chief executive. "These restaurants can be built quickly and generate good volume."

The new locations have less than 2,000 square feet of space. Interior and exterior design is supposed to appeal to an 18- to 49-year-old customer base. The buildings have stucco walls and "an unusually expansive use of glass so the energy flows from inside out and people can see what's going on," Moriarty said.

"We think this design is going to attract a lot of attention from people looking for something new and fun in fast food," he said.

Del Taco, a privately held company, has 270 restaurants across the United States.

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