updated 12/2/2013 4:17:43 PM ET 2013-12-02T21:17:43

Looking to open a franchise? You may want to consider Taco Bell, which plans to add 2,000 new restaurants in the U.S. in the next 10 years.

Hoping to up restaurants nationwide by 25 percent, Taco Bell aims to reach 8,000 domestic locations by 2023. Currently, the Irvine, Calif.-based chain has close to 6,000 units in the U.S, more than 4,600 of which are operated by franchisees.

“Based on our brand principles to help out fans and franchisees 'Live Más,' we’re moving to a highly proactive recruitment approach and our first major franchising effort in more than 15 years,” says Nicolas Boudet, Taco Bell's vice president of U.S. development and franchising.

The chain’s 350 existing operators currently average roughly 20 units each. Thirty-five percent of franchisees have over 25 years of experience. However, recruitment could bring fresh blood and new growth to the Mexican restaurant.

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Taco Bell is targeting specific cities and states for growth in the new recruiting push, actively looking to expand in cities including San Antonio, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh and Juneau, Alaska. “In listening to our customers, they’re asking us to expand into rural and suburban areas, so that’s where we plan to focus our growth,” says Boudet.

Taco Bell launched its first website devoted to franchisee recruitment in October. The extensive site attempts to engage prospective franchise-owners, as well as lay out Taco Bell’s requirements for franchisees. The chain’s ideal candidate has experience with multi-unit food or hospitality franchises, leadership experience and at least $1.5 million net worth and $750,000 in liquid assets.

In the third quarter, parent company Yum Brands reported gains of $53 million tied to its refranchising efforts in the U.S., primarily at Taco Bell. As of the end of September, Yum had refranchised 151 Taco Bell units in 2013, in addition to opening 68 new franchised Taco Bells.

Taco Bell has served as a bright spot for Yum's same-store sales, with 2-percent growth, compared to a 1-percent decline at Pizza Hut and a 4 percent decline at KFC. The taco chain has produced seven consecutive quarters of positive same-store sales growth. 

Related: 6 Shocking Realizations About the Food at Your Favorite Chains

Copyright © 2013, Inc.


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