In Fortune, Carmine Gallo looks at how customer loyalty is built at Del Taco. An excerpt:
Lopez is proud of the fact that Del Taco has "raving" fans, some of whom eat at the chain several times a week and know the local store manager by name. But fans don't rave unless they're won over. Offering good food at a good price isn't enough. The key is to turn a transaction into an interaction. "We're facing difficult times and need to be more sensitive. If a person only has $5 to spend this week, they are looking for something extra. They want to make sure that where they go, they will get good food and be treated nicely. Our customers like to go because they like the food, they know the employees, and they like the way they are treated."