How the Taco Killed the Burger

A blog about business and economics.
Oct. 28 2013 4:17 PM

How the Taco Killed the Burger

176717382
A view of Tacos during Chipotle presents “Cultivate Denver,” a culinary celebration in Denver’'s City Park.

Photo by Jason Bahr/Getty Images for Chipotle

America has long had a love affair with the burger. And, while we, as a nation, certainly haven’t broken up with our first patty-shaped love, as of late, the relationship could best be classified as: it’s complicated.

Enter the Taco. Yum! Brands is out with its most recent quarterly report showing that tacos are increasingly big business in America. Yum!, which owns fast-food staples KFC and Pizza Hut, again reports that its Taco Bell chain is its star performer, with sales up over the last seven quarters.

The growing taste for Taco Bell is part of a larger trend in Mexican food taking off in the American market, as Bloomberg Businessweek reports, food research company Technomic, finds that “sales at Mexican-style restaurants grew 9.3 percent in 2012, outpacing the 5.8 percent increase among all limited-service restaurant.” Sales are up at Chipotle too and even the quasi-Mexican chain, Chili’s, is looking to boost its bottom line by doubling down on its Mexican menu. The growth of Mexican-inspired quick eats comes at a time when traditional burger joints, McDonalds, which is trying its hand at salads, and Burger King which is also getting creative, try to boost sales.

As for the eat-at-home preferences of Americans, the burger is also showing signs of slipping: Salsa has overtaken ketchup as the country’s best selling condiment, tortilla chips outsell potato chips, and tortillas are bigger sellers than burger and hot dog buns.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

There Are New Abuse Allegations Against Adrian Peterson

After This Merger, One Company Could Control One-Third of the Planet's Beer Sales

John Oliver Pleads for Scotland to Stay With the U.K.

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Jurisprudence

Don’t Expect Adrian Peterson to Go to Prison

In much of America, beating your kids is perfectly legal. 

The Juice

Ford’s Big Gamble

It’s completely transforming America’s best-selling vehicle.

I Tried to Write an Honest Profile of One of Bollywood’s Biggest Stars. It Didn’t Go Well.

Here’s Why College Women Don’t Take Rape Allegations to the Police

The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 1:51 PM Here’s Why College Women Don’t Take Rape Allegations to the Police
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 15 2014 8:56 PM The Benghazi Whistleblower Who Might Have Revealed a Massive Scandal on his Poetry Blog
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 15 2014 7:27 PM Could IUDs Be the Next Great Weapon in the Battle Against Poverty?
  Life
Outward
Sept. 15 2014 4:38 PM What Is Straight Ice Cream?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 15 2014 8:58 PM Lorde Does an Excellent Cover of Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights”
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 15 2014 4:49 PM Cheetah Robot Is Now Wireless and Gallivanting on MIT’s Campus
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 15 2014 11:00 AM The Comet and the Cosmic Beehive
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.