LAKE FOREST, Calif. – Del Taco Restaurants Inc. announced the start of the company’s drive to refranchise several company owned restaurants across four non-core Western markets.

Del Taco already refranchised 13 lower volume company owned restaurants in the Los Angeles area to three separate Del Taco franchisees during the first quarter. The company also finalized the purchase of three high-volume franchised restaurants in the Los Angeles area during the first quarter.

Del Taco announced the restaurant optimization plan in January and subsequently retained The Cypress Group, a leading restaurant and franchise investment banking firm, to manage the plan.

Overall, the refranchising strategy is expected to shift company ownership of restaurants to 45 percent from 55 percent by the summer of 2020.

“We are excited to be launching these opportunities to the franchise M&A marketplace through our partnership with The Cypress Group,” said John D. Cappasola, Jr., president and CEO of Del Taco. “The Del Taco brand has proven portability across a broad geographic footprint, and we believe refranchising our non-core Western markets provides potential franchise partners with an attractive entry point to our system from which they can drive further system-wide growth through new development.”

Del Taco was founded in 1964 and currently counts 580 restaurants across 14 states.