Kent has seen a huge expansion of Taco Bell chains opening up across the county. The Mexican-American food chain was little known compared to other giants such as McDonald’s, KFC and Burger King until recently.

The UK was the first European country to open a franchise in 1986. It was opened in London on Coventry Street near Leicester Square followed by a second in Earl’s Court. Another opened in Uxbridge but they all closed in the mid-1990s.

It wasn’t until 2010 that the first two branches opened in Essex, followed by a third in Manchester in 2011. Now, a decade later, there’s a Taco Bell in every corners of the UK, and Kent is no exception.

READ MORE: A new Taco Bell restaurant will open in Dover at St James Retail and Leisure Park

A new branch has been announced to open in Folkestone on April 15 and Dover is expected to open soon after, although the date is yet to be confirmed. There are also existing branches in Maidstone which opened on March 31 this year, Dartford which opened in November 2021 and Chatham which opened in May 2019.

In 2019 it was revealed that there may also be a new store in Canterbury. Mo Boussaba, who helped open Kent’s first branch, said: “Kent has always been on the cards – and it doesn’t stop there.”

But not everyone seems entirely happy with the expansion of the branch. When the application was submitted for the Folkestone site, there were six objections from neighbors when submitting an application. They raised concerns about additional litter, smell, noise, and impact on traffic.

Taco Bell food

A local, calling himself DM Kids Motorcross, posted a lengthy message to the Folkestone Residents Group, saying: “Well I’m absolutely mystified at how excited this place is to open in Folkestone.

“Another fast food chain that only serves nutrient dense c***s! It’s like a McDonald’s with some added spice, can’t say too much more, that’s what it is.

“Not for me! But if anyone finds that happy, then I’m glad you found that happiness in your life…that’s not a star for me today!” But other people expressed their delight at the opening of the new franchise in Dover. Shannon Morrison said, “Oh my God! I’ve never been happier.”

Yet when the Chatham store opened there were huge queues with people waiting for hours just to get a taste. When people heard that Taco Bell was coming to Dover, people said it was “the happiest news” they had ever heard.

Emma Yearley said: “They’re going to be everywhere.” Shana Moore said: “My prayers have been answered.” Rob Wright said: “FANTASTIC NEWS.”

It’s part of Taco Bell’s plan which was announced in 2019 to open 200 stores in the UK within five years. Jorge Torres, Managing Director of Taco Bell Europe, said, “There are franchisees who are really excited and able to continue expanding.

“We prefer to work with fewer bigger franchisees – it’s more efficient for us as we build a team and maximize our resources. It all depends on the size of the market and its potential – the UK is so big at the moment that there is still room to grow.