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Paul Murphy, President and CEO of Del Taco Restaurants Franchise

PaulJ.B. Murphy, III, President and Chief Executive Officer of Del TacoRestaurants, Inc., is responsible for leading his team in developing andexecuting a bulletproof strategy that delivers positive results for all of DelTaco’s stakeholders. Since joining Del Taco in 2009, Murphy has taken the over50-year old brand to new heights, including leading the recent transition froma privately-held to a publicly-traded company in 2015. Today, Murphy sits atthe helm of a company that employs over 7,000 people, all of whom he believes havecontributed to Del Taco’s success.

Murphyearned his Bachelor’s Degree from Washington & Lee University.  He worked with Einstein Noah RestaurantGroup, Inc. for 12 years, where he served in a variety of roles includingPresident and CEO. During this tenure, Murphy gained extensive industryknowledge and honed his skills in management and leadership within the quickservice sector.

Franchise Expo: Tellus about the Del Taco franchise concept.

Paul J.B. Murphy: DelTaco Restaurants, Inc. is the second largest Mexican-American Quick ServiceRestaurant (QSR) chain by units in the United States with nearly 550restaurants in 16 states. In 2015, Del Tacotransitioned into a public company, poising the West Coast icon with a rich 52-yearhistory to strengthen its national presenceas a leader. It also has enabled us to fortify our QSR+ value proposition whichcombines the best attributes from both Fast Casual and QSRs to deliver ourguests high-quality food they have come to expect with the speed, convenience,and value they demand.

Del Taco offers Mexican and Americanfavorites that are made to order with fresh ingredients in every restaurant’sworking kitchen. This on-site prep of slow cooking beans from scratch, grillingour carne asada fresh in house and hand-grating cheddar cheese from 40 lb.blocks daily, while still providing the best value and variety in the industry,is strongly resonating with a broad base of consumers. From a 30-year historyof serving breakfast to its unmatched value menu offerings and premium product platforms,Del Taco has something for every taste and occasion.

FE: Howand when did you become involved with Del Taco franchise?

PM: I joined DelTaco as CEO in 2009. Before that, I spent nearly three decades in various rolesin every aspect of operations. The knowledge and experience gained with eachposition helped hone my management skills, shape my business philosophies and developa leadership style required to oversee, nurture and lead a national QSR brand. 

FE: Whatwas your background prior to joining Del Taco?

PM: Prior to my role at Del Taco, I wasinvolved with Einstein Noah Restaurant Group for 12 years and served aspresident and chief executive officer from 2003-2008, overseeing more than 600Einstein Bros. Bagels, Noah’s New York Bagels and Manhattan Bagels in 36 states.I also held positions for Gulfstream Bagels, Boston Market, and Bennigan’srestaurants. 

FE: Whatare some of the advantages in being a Del Taco franchisee?

PM: Del Taco has a unique brand legacy,an experienced leadership team, stable company financials and multi-platformmarketing campaigns that speak to today’s consumers. As a result of our mergerwith Levy Acquisition Corporation, Del Taco is poised to grow with even moreresources and opportunities to improve many areas including operations, productinnovation and support, etc. – all elements designed to exceed guests’ evolvingexpectations and demands.

We set up our franchisees forsuccess with an unparalleled level of support, including providing financingreferences, site selection and construction assistance, extensive hands-onmanagement and crew training and new store opening support. Del Taco’scorporate store ownership also means we have “skin in the game” and understandwhat’s important to our franchise partners.

With exclusive developmentterritories available throughout the US in new and existing markets, Del Tacois seeking qualified franchisee candidates and offering incentives forveterans, minorities and new market development. We have a proven track recordof success in new market entry, and will soon open restaurants in new statessuch as Pennsylvania, New Jersey and South Carolina in addition to continuingto build on existing markets.

FE: Whois your ideal franchisee?

PM: The ideal Del Taco franchisee issomeone who is passionate about exceptional customer service. We like to alignwith entrepreneurial, like-minded professionals looking to grow and succeed withan exciting brand. Experienced multi-unit restaurant operators or investors whowill partner with a qualified candidate as well as those who are committed todeveloping at least two restaurants are the long term relationships we’reinterested in as we execute our strategic growth plans.  

FE: Tellus a little about the Fast-food restaurant market?

PM: The restaurant industry isfast-paced and continuously changing. Del Taco is constantly evolving to meetour guests’ tastes and demands and in doing so, we occupy this unique QSR+space in the category that satisfies a broad spectrum of different occasionsand demographics. It’s a rewarding experience to build on a brand with a richhistory by continuing to serve fresh food at a great value, while alsointroducing exciting menu innovations to appeal to the next generation ofdiners.

In recent years, Del Taco launchedhealthier menu options such as turkey tacos, fresh sliced avocado, andhandcrafted ensaladas — all premium items that are made-to-order with freshingredients. We still offer guests the best value and variety in the industrywith our “Buck & Under” menu, but we’ve struck this perfect balance whichallows us to serve the Fast Casual quality food our guests’ demand at a QSRprice point and convenience of a drive-thru. 

FE: Whatare some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing this franchise?

PM: I learn from the talented team Iwork with every day at Del Taco. I have the opportunity to collaborate with somany great minds. Everyone brings something valuable to the table whether it becreativity, strategy, or genuine passion for the brand. In 2015, Del Tacobecame a publicly-traded company which was a huge milestone for a 50-year-oldcompany to achieve. This success is a direct reflection of a company-widecommitment and I’m continuously inspired by watching those around me grow andsucceed with a brand we all believe in. 

FE: Doyou have a mentor and is their someone you use for inspiration?

PM: Richard Meyer, a colleague of minefrom the S&A system, taught me the significance of a strong work ethic butalso the importance of a good heart. I’m a firm believer in the Golden Rule:treat others the way you would like to be treated. It’s simple but a powerfulpillar of good ethics, good business and good people.

FE: Whatadvice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?

PM: My advice is to be passionate aboutwhat you do and who you work with. Be prepared to work hard but if you believein what the brand stands for, have the right support team, and a desire tosucceed, it won’t feel like work.  

FE: Inyour opinion, why do you think that Del Taco franchise would be a greatopportunity for someone?

PM: Del Taco occupies a highly desiredposition in the industry by delivering food quality that is very competitivewith the likes of Fast Casual, but offering it at a value that is consistentwith QSRs. We’re doing things differently by serving a menu generally pricedlower than fast food, but one that is authentically prepared in our workingkitchens with fresh ingredients every day. This unique attribute sets us apartfrom the competition.

Interview with Mark Siebert - CEO, iFranchise Group

CEO of iFranchise Group, Mark C. Siebert has been consulting to franchisors since 1985, and has worked with some of the most successful franchisors in the world.

Don Daszkowski of IFPG

Don Daszkowski is a serial entrepreneur and the Founder/CEO of IFPG, the industry’s leading franchise broker network. Through IFPG’s membership-based network, Don helps connect franchise professionals with the ultimate goal of putting hopeful entrepreneurs into successful franchise ownership. Along with his innovative team at IFPG, Don has raised the bar industry-wide in the franchise sales process. Don’s work through IFPG has received many accolades, including being named the top franchise broker network by Entrepreneur Magazine several years in a row.