Strategy A Mexican chain with a cult following is ditching nacho cheese — and its replacement should terrify Chipotle and Taco Bell (TACO)

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Del Taco is cutting nacho cheese from its menu, replacing it with all-natural queso.

Del Taco will soon serve fries and queso — two things Taco Bell doesn't have. play

Del Taco will soon serve fries and queso — two things Taco Bell doesn't have.

(Kate Taylor)
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Del Taco is cutting nacho cheese from its menu.

Instead, the West Coast Mexican fast-food chain will begin serving queso blanco on Thursday.

The queso will be available as a cheesy dip, as well as an ingredient in dishes such as the Queso Crunch Taco, Queso Loaded Nachos, Queso Bean Burrito, and Queso Fries.

Executives told Business Insider that they weren't too concerned that customers would get angry about the chain "dumping the cheese pump."

According to CEO John Cappasola, customers in tests much preferred the queso — which the chain spent 15 months developing — to the existing nacho cheese.

Having actually tried Del Taco's queso blanco, we have to agree. The white, cheesy dip is rich, with a slight bite from pickled jalapenos. It's perfect for both dipping chips and smothering fries.

Most importantly, Del Taco found a way to replicate queso's goopy consistency without using artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. That was a mission that Chipotle has so far failed to accomplish with its queso, which is rumored to be rolling out across the US in mid-September.

Chipotle's queso wasn't the hit it was expected to be. play

Chipotle's queso wasn't the hit it was expected to be.

(Hollis Johnson)

Del Taco is more focused on winning over customers from fast-food chains like Taco Bell than competing with Chipotle. Chipotle's own queso test aside, the cheesy dip is hot right now — and it's something that, starting Thursday, Del Taco serves and Taco Bell doesn't.