NFL Vet Donnell Thompson Signs With Del Taco
There’s no denying the trend of active and retired athletes getting into franchising. Former NFL player Donnell Thompson is the latest with the announcement that he signed a development agreement to build five new Del Taco locations on the east side of Atlanta, further supporting the brand’s recently announced expansion plans in the Southeast U.S.
While Saints QB Drew Brees is the most prominent franchisee (and now franchisor through his involvement in Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar), Thompson is expanding beyond his previous multi-unit franchise ownership of McDonald’s, Choice Hotels, Zaxby’s and Denny’s. Operating under DT Group Inc., and along with his wife Deborah, Thompson will expand the Del Taco brand throughout his hometown of Atlanta with openings slated to begin in 2018.
“With over 30 years in the franchising industry, we know how to spot a winning brand when we see one,” said Thompson. “One of the key points for us was that Del Taco, unlike other quick service restaurants, actually prepares food fresh in its working kitchens. No other QSR in Atlanta offers this high level of freshness and quality with the value and speed of a drive-thru concept. It’s our goal to make Del Taco a household name in the region.”
With a focus on the southeastern and western regions of the United States, Del Taco is building a stronger national presence by entering new territories while infilling existing markets. Demonstrated by 13 consecutive quarters of systemwide same-store sales increases, Del Taco is a brand on the rise and presents enormous growth potential for experienced multi-unit operators looking to diversify their portfolios.
“Donnell Thompson is a natural born leader and we’re honored to partner with such an inspiring and well-known individual in the Atlanta community,” said Laura Tanaka, director of franchising. “Del Taco’s proven business model paired with the industry know-how of a seasoned pro like Donnell is a winning combination, and we’re confident his locations will thrive in Atlanta.”
Del Taco has more than 550 locations across 15 U.S. states, with previously stated expansion plans to far exceed those numbers in the coming years.