McDonald's has certainly had a golden touch in the fast food industry here and abroad. Its success in other countries has often been helped by flexibility in adapting its menu to suit the tastes of the populace.
It could bring that international approach here to its home base in the U.S.
Specifically, the McDonald's menu could stand to add tacos, or even burritos, to appeal to the nation's growing Hispanic population.
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True enough that other fast food restaurants have dabbled in tacos, notably Jack in the Box (Stock Quote: JACK) and, less successfully, Burger King.
But these have been the standard Taco Bell-inspired globs of meat paste. McDonald's could do them one better and strive for higher quality and at least a degree of greater authenticity. In other words, McDonald's could make a move on Chipotle (Stock Quote: CMG).
Chipotle has been a true success story with its burritos and rice bowls. But its uniformity in menu could be a disadvantage compared with the broader menu McDonald's could offer families looking to find a one-stop solution to multiple cravings.
According to 2010 Census estimates, there are approximately 50 million Hispanics living in the U.S., a 42% increase from the 2000 Census. That equates to one in every six U.S. residents and an approximate buying power of $1 trillion annually.
And yet, fast food offerings geared toward this growing demographic are limited to the caricatures of Mexican cuisine found at Taco Bell and Del Taco, or specialized chains such as the eight-state El Pollo Loco and seven-state Pizza Patron.
Given that Latinos are now the mainstream, it stands to reason America's most mainstream restaurant chain should be catering more to them.