More than 400 Del Taco restaurants made the switch in the past year to brighter exterior colors in a nationwide rebranding, but only “one or two” of them is making the switch back – San Juan Capistrano’s one of them.
The Planning Commission voted 4-0, with Roy Nunn absent, to revert back to the chain’s previous color palette with peach tones and terracotta.
Commissioners said they felt like they had little choice. Representatives from Del Taco – which acknowledged painting the restaurant without first asking permission – had only offered three choices:
- Stick with the current colors
- Accept the colors proposed in September with a similar palette but less intense
- Revert back to the original
“We’re back to square one again,” said Commissioner Ian Gardiner.
Commissioner Evan Chaffee said he was disappointed to be put in the position of few options. The Planning Commission assigned the matter to an ad-hoc subcommittee to come up with a solution, not end up where they started.
Chairman Sheldon Cohen agreed: “The purpose of setting up an ad-hoc committee, at least in my mind, is to expeditiously get through a review [to] an approval. Here we are four, five months later with not much to look at.”
But Mark Raber, representing Del Taco, said the city wanted the chain to deviate too much from their corporate image.
“Any further investigating probably wouldn’t yield any colors … you would like to see and also marry our brand image,” he said, adding that the San Juan Capistrano restaurant’s sales have picked up since the color change.
A Del Taco spokesman, Joshua Levitt, said only a handful of cities have had a problem with the new colors. Of the few that did, most of them – like Mission Viejo – found a more subdued version acceptable.
“In one or two instances, such as with our San Juan Capistrano restaurant, the best compromise was to return the restaurant to its original colors,” he said.
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