Taco Bell is giving away free tacos to vaccinated customers across California, as part of the state’s Vax for the Win scheme

Taco Bell Quesalupa + Black Bean Quesalupa
Eligible customers can claim a free Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos taco from Tuesday.

  • Taco Bell is offering free tacos to vaccinated individuals living in California.
  • Customers have to show their vaccination cards at participating locations to be eligible.
  • The deal is part of Gavin Newsom’s Vax for the Win scheme, which aims to drive up vaccination rates.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Fast-food chain Taco Bell is the latest company to get in on the huge vaccination drive taking place across the state of California. It is offering free tacos to customers who have received at least one dose of their COVID-19 vaccines from Tuesday.

Customers who show their vaccination card at participating California Taco Bell restaurants will be eligible for a Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos taco at no cost, the company said in a press release.

The company announced its offer as part of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Vax for the Win incentive program.

Mark King, CEO of Taco Bell Corp, said in the press release: “It’s been a tough year, and we are all ready to put COVID-19 behind us.”

“We are thrilled to do our part and give back to our home state with something everyone knows and loves to celebrate those who have made the decision to get vaccinated,” he added.

At least 70% of Californian adults have received at least one dose of immunization, according to Newsom. However, there is still a large population of young people who need to get vaccinated or receive their second dose.

The brand hopes the effort will increase vaccinations in these specific groups to help reopen the state in a safe manner.

Other companies across the US are also offering workers perks for getting immunized. Retailers like Target and Dollar General announced incentives including extra pay and paid time off, as Insider’s Natasha Dailey and Brittany Chang reported.

But for other customers, not getting vaccinated also has its perks. In March, a New Jersey gym announced it was offering free memberships to people who refuse to take a COVID-19 vaccine.

Prior to the offer, the owners of the gym were arrested last year for refusing to abide by the state’s pandemic-based orders.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Taco Bell is giving away free tacos on May 4 – here’s how to get one

Taco Moon   1 free taco
  • Taco Bell is giving away free tacos in the US and other global markets.
  • Tacos are for “Taco Moon,” a night when the moon will look like a taco.
  • This is the chain’s first global promotion.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Taco Bell will give away free tacos on May 4 to celebrate a lunar phase the company is calling “Taco Moon.”

This promotion is Taco Bell’s first-ever global campaign, using the moon itself as a billboard. It will also mark the most tacos Taco Bell has ever given away on a single day. Promotions will be available in over 20 global markets, including the US, from 8-11:59 pm in-store or all-day May 4 through the app or online.

Read more: Taco Bell CEO Mark King explains how ‘restless creativity’ and redesigned store experiences will help the chain nearly double its sales to $20 billion a year

“Taco Bell does not claim to own copyrights to a lunar phase of the moon, but stands behind the fact this really does look like a Taco Bell taco,” the company says.

In the US, participating customers will get a free crunchy taco, while the promotion will look different in other markets.

In Guatemala, for example, customers can get a free crunchy taco with a beverage purchase, and in India customers will get the option of a free black bean or crunchy seasoned chicken taco. The UK, Australia, Costa Rica, and Puerto Rico will each also have local versions of the deal.

Taco Moon Forecast free taco

“Taco Bell has been an established brand in the U.S. for nearly 60 years and we are thrilled by the accelerating fandom we’re seeing globally,” Julie Felss Masino, president of Taco Bell International, said in a press release. “As we’re opening more and more restaurants internationally, we know the May 4 moon will take us to new ‘heights’ as we introduce ourselves to new future fans in a delicious way.”

Customers in the US have two other promotions to take advantage of on May 4 and May 5 on the $5 Build Your Own Cravings Box and $15 Build Your Own Taco Party Pack.

The promotion is part of the “I see a taco” campaign that the company says will roll out more international offers over the next few months.

Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at mmeisenzahl@businessinsider.com.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I tried Taco Bell’s new plant-based meat that’s only available at one location and I was very disappointed

taco bell
Me, my order, and Taco Bell.

  • On April 21, Taco Bell introduced its new plant-based protein: the Cravetarian.
  • The Cravetarian, which is made of peas and chickpeas, is only available at one location in California.
  • I tried the protein in a Crunchwrap Supreme and Crunchy Taco Supreme but was not impressed.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
On April 21, Taco Bell, a chain beloved by vegetarians and vegans, introduced its new plant-based meat: the Cravetarian.

Taco bell cravetarian protein

Source: Insider

Taco Bell’s stores already offer “Veggie Mode,” a vegetarian menu showcasing all the meat-free options.

Taco Bell Cantina
A Taco Bell Cantina, which typically is focused on dine-in service, has added a drive-thru.

And all of the ingredients included on the 100% veggie-friendly menu are American Vegetarian Association certified.

Taco Bell vegetarian menu
The four dishes on Taco Bell’s new all-vegetarian menu.

Source: Taco Bell

“People who have been flexitarian or vegetarian have known that we’ve been the go-to place where you can actually get a healthy, plant-based protein that you can sub into your food,” Julie Felss Masino, now-president Taco Bell International, told Insider in 2019.

New Vegetarian Menu
Taco Bell’s new vegetarian menu.

Source: Insider

Unlike other fast-food chains – like McDonald’s or Burger King – that have relied on Impossible Foods or Beyond Meat for a plant-based substitute, Taco Bell decided to go with its own proprietary vegan protein.

taco bell
Crunchy Taco Supreme with the Cravetarian.

“We’ve met with Beyond, we’ve met with Impossible,” Masino said in an interview with CNBC in 2019. “But I think what we’re proud of is that we’ve been doing vegetarian for 57 years.”

beyond meat cvs

Source: CNBC

The new vegan option is made of peas and chickpeas, the latter a classic vegan substitute for meat.

IMG_0417
Crunchwrap Supreme with the Cravetarian.

A few of Taco Bell’s meat-based menu items can be substituted with the new vegan protein …

taco bell
Crunchy Taco Supreme with the Cravetarian.

… including the classic burritos, chalupas, and Crunchwrap Supreme.

IMG_0391
Crunchwrap Supreme with the Cravetarian.

However, the Cravetarian is currently only available at one location: 14042 Red Hill Ave. in Tustin, California, just a short drive away from where I’m temporarily located.

taco bell
The Taco Bell.

I decided to jump on the freeway and head straight to the Taco Bell, eager to try this new veggie-based substitute. I’m not a strict vegetarian, but the majority of my meals are meat-free.

taco bell
Crunchy Taco Supreme with the Cravetarian.

When I finally stepped into the fast-food chain, I noticed the Cravetarian wasn’t available at any of the electronic ordering kiosks, so I waddled over to the crash register instead.

taco bell
The Taco Bell.

After a few seconds of indecision, I settled on the Crunchy Taco Supreme ($2.19) and the Crunchwrap Supreme ($4.19), both with the Cravetarian substitute.

taco bell
The Taco Bell.

When my name was called, I marched up to the counter, grabbed my bag, and went back home. Just look how unusually happy I am with my veggie-friendly meal in hand!

taco bell
Me, my order, and Taco Bell.

At first glance, the Cravetarian (right) and Taco Bell’s generic ground beef (left) look quite similar. As far as I could tell, the only visual difference between the Cravetarian and the ground beef is the smaller clumps in the vegan protein.

IMG_0424
Taco Bell’s ground beef, left, and the Cravetarian, right.

Now, for the taste test.

IMG_0387
Crunchwrap Supreme with the Cravetarian.

First, I tried the Crunchy Taco Supreme, which looked almost identical to Taco Bell’s beef-based taco.

taco bell
Crunchy Taco Supreme with the Cravetarian.

My order came with the Cravetarian protein, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, and cheese.

taco bell
Crunchy Taco Supreme with the Cravetarian.

But after my first bite, I was not wowed at all.

taco bell
Crunchy Taco Supreme with the Cravetarian.

The Cravetarian tastes similar to other meat substitutes and I did enjoy the taste, but it didn’t offer anything new compared to other “vegan meats” I’ve tried in the past.

taco bell
Crunchy Taco Supreme with the Cravetarian.

It’s salty (almost overbearingly so), and has the same crumbled texture as ground beef, except spongier.

taco bell
Crunchy Taco Supreme with the Cravetarian.

“It tastes like hummus,” according to my friend, who decided to take a nibble of my taco.

taco bell
Crunchy Taco Supreme with the Cravetarian.

If you’re a meat-eater looking for a meat-tasting vegan alternative, I wouldn’t run to the Cravetarian.

taco bell
Crunchy Taco Supreme with the Cravetarian.

Flavor and bite-wise, the Cravetarian is not comparable to ground beef.

IMG_0630
Crunchy Taco Supreme with the Cravetarian.

But if you’re a plant-based eater who doesn’t like Beyond Meat or chickpeas, you might not like the Cravetarian as well.

taco bell
Crunchy Taco Supreme with the Cravetarian.

In my opinion, Taco Bell’s black bean Crunchy Taco Supreme is a much tastier plant-based option.

IMG_0698
Taco Bell’s black bean Crunchy Taco Supreme.

But I’m not a picky eater, and while I was disappointed by the Cravetarian, I still liked it enough to finish the rest of my taco. Now, onto the Crunchwrap Supreme.

taco bell
Crunchy Taco Supreme with the Cravetarian.

At this point, I was already quite full from my previous taco, but I knew I had to march on.

IMG_0380
Crunchwrap Supreme with the Cravetarian.

Cravetarian or not, there’s a lot going on in a Crunchwrap Supreme.

IMG_0391
Crunchwrap Supreme with the Cravetarian.

All of my Crunchwrap Supreme fans already know the makeup of one of these large, flying saucer-shaped meals. But for those who aren’t tapped into the Taco Bell community, here’s a quick rundown.

IMG_0387
Crunchwrap Supreme with the Cravetarian.

The Crunchwrap Supreme comes with tomato, lettuce, a protein, queso, a hard corn tortilla, and sour cream, all inside of a folded and pressed tortilla.

IMG_0417
Crunchwrap Supreme with the Cravetarian.

But upon my first bite, I realized all of the Crunchwrap Supreme’s frills drowned out the Cravetarian’s flavor.

IMG_0414
Crunchwrap Supreme with the Cravetarian.

I tasted more sour cream than I did vegan meat …

IMG_0404
Crunchwrap Supreme with the Cravetarian.

… and ended up eating around the other add-ons in order to taste more of the Cravetarian. Unsurprisingly, I couldn’t finish the Crunchwrap Supreme, but my mind about the vegan protein was already made up.

IMG_0423
Crunchwrap Supreme with the Cravetarian.

Overall, I think Taco Bell did a good job of matching the current “vegan meat” market offerings.

IMG_0454
Taco Bell’s ground beef, left, and the Cravetarian, right.

It’s pretty much exactly what I expected it to be: salty, sponge-like, well seasoned, and not-meat tasting.

taco bell
Crunchy Taco Supreme with the Cravetarian.

But overall, the Cravetarian left me wanting more. Maybe my expectations were too high, but I was hoping for a bigger flare. The meat substitute just reminded me of every other “alternative meat” product I’ve tried.

IMG_0627
Crunchy Taco Supreme with the Cravetarian.

But don’t let my review deter you from trying it yourself. If you’re looking to try the Cravetarian, I’d recommend staying away from the Crunchwrap Supreme, which overwhelms the flavor of the protein. Just stick with the taco instead.

taco bell
Crunchy Taco Supreme with the Cravetarian.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Hundreds of Subway, Dunkin’, and Burger King locations closed in 2020 – here are the chains with the most closures

Subway Restaurant
Subway assembly line.

  • More than 10% of all US restaurant locations closed during the pandemic.
  • Dunkin’, Burger King, and Subway were the hardest hit large chains.
  • But others like Domino’s and Starbucks added locations last year.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

10% of all restaurants have closed since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, including hundreds of locations of major chains, according to food industry research firm Dataessential’s new report.

No sector of the industry was safe. Closures affected fast food, fast casual, casual, and fine dining. Subway closed more stores than any other large chain examined by Dataessential, closing out the period with 1,557 fewer stores, a 6.6% loss. Dunkin’ lost a net 559 stores, the report said.

Read more: Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol answers 9 questions about the chain’s future including the fight for delivery profits, menu innovation, and franchising

Even fast food staples were hit by the pandemic. Burger King closed 319 locations, while McDonald’s closed 173. However, that only amounts to a 1.2% loss for McDonald’s, which still has well over 13,000 locations. Baskin Robbin’s, Hardees, and Steak N Shake each closed restaurants, while Little Caesar’s bucked the positive trend for pizza chains this year, closing 120 locations.

Some restaurants did manage to open new locations. Domino’s came out on top, opening 358 new stores. This isn’t necessarily surprising: pizza and wings were hailed as early winners in the pandemic as Americans increasingly ordered from brands that were already set up to accommodate delivery, like Papa John’s and Wingstop.

The rest of the pizza industry saw huge losses, up to $30 billion in March and $50 billion in April. The trend doesn’t apply to all pizza chains, though, as Little Caesar’s shows.

Starbucks, Taco Bell, and Chipotle all also all ended the year with over 200 additional stores apiece. Each of these chains has invested in drive-thrus throughout the pandemic.

Starbucks is making efforts to improve drive-thru efficiency with digital drive-thru screens for ordering and handheld devices for baristas to input orders on. Taco Bell cut more than a dozen items in 2020 to make drive-thru lines move more quickly, and sales grew as a result. Chipotle is opening hundreds of Chipotlane drive-thru lanes, with plans to more than double locations.

Most restaurants that added locations have embraced drive-thrus and mobile ordering, while chains that didn’t suffered, though this doesn’t explain every chain.

Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at mmeisenzahl@businessinsider.com.

Read the original article on Business Insider

David Dobrik’s podcast has lost sponsors like Honey and HelloFresh

Hello and welcome to Insider Advertising for March 26. I’m senior advertising reporter Lauren Johnson, and here’s what’s going on:

First, we’re looking for nominations of the top ad execs at the forefront of navigating data and privacy. Submit your nominations here by March 31.

If this email was forwarded to you, sign up here for your daily insider’s guide to advertising and media.

Tips, comments, suggestions? Drop me a line at LJohnson@insider.com or on Twitter at @LaurenJohnson.


david dobrik
David Dobrik speaks onstage during Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards on March 13, 2021.

YouTube star David Dobrik is losing sponsors for his podcast ‘Views’ amid Vlog Squad scandal

Read the story.


Arthur Sadoun

2 top execs are leaving ad giant Publicis in a shake-up at its most profitable division

Read the story.


Taco Bell Quesalupa   1
Quesalupa.

Taco Bell CEO Mark King explains how ‘restless creativity’ and redesigned store experiences will help the chain nearly double its sales to $20 billion a year

Read the story.


More stories we’re reading:

Thanks for reading and see you on Monday! You can reach me in the meantime at LJohnson@insider.com and subscribe to this daily email here.

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The ‘quesadilla wars’ are brewing at Taco Bell and Chipotle

Chipotle Quesadilla
Chipotle is finally rolling out the quesadilla.

  • Chipotle is finally letting customer order quesadillas online and through its app.
  • Taco Bell, meanwhile, has brought back the Quesalupa and is pushing its own quesadilla.
  • “Is this the start of the quesadilla wars?” asks Credit Suisse analyst Lauren Silberman.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

You’ve heard about the chicken sandwich wars. But, what about the quesadilla wars?

Last week, Chipotle finally added quesadillas to the menu, available online and in the chain’s app. The menu item has been a top customer request for years, and CEO Brian Niccol’s personal favorite meal at the chain.

But, Chipotle isn’t the only chain serving quesadillas. As Credit Suisse analyst Lauren Silberman wrote in her weekly analysis on Friday, Taco Bell has served quesadillas for years and, last week, launched the return of the Quesalupa.

“Just hours after Chipotle announced it would launch quesadillas (on 3/9), Taco Bell sent email and app notifications reminding customers of its Chicken Quesadilla, and on 3/10, announced the nationwide return of the Quesalupa (Quesadilla + Chalupa) beginning on 3/11, with a marketing campaign titled, ‘Overhyped,'” Silberman wrote.

Silberman added: “Is this the start of the quesadilla wars?”

Why you should care about the ‘quesadilla wars’

Quesalupa
The battle pits quesadilla against Quesalupa.

The potential cheese-filled battle between Chipotle and Taco Bell is particularly interesting for a few reasons.

First, the quesadilla has long been Taco Bell’s turf, in large part because Chipotle did not think it was feasible to actually add the item to menus. Warming the quesadilla takes extra time, which disrupts Chipotle’s traditional assembly-line process.

Chipotle has been able to cut that time down to 30 seconds, from three minutes. By only allowing customers to order the menu item online or via app, all quesadilla orders are prepared on the “second-make line,” or an additional area dedicated to assembling off-premise orders.

“Pair [the digital lines] up with a great app experience, a great web experience, and then” you start to see an impact to the digital business, which includes mobile and delivery orders, Niccol recently told Insider’s Nancy Luna.

Second, analysts are extremely optimistic about how much the quesadilla can boost sales at Chipotle. Cowen analyst Andrew Charles told Insider last week that he expects the new menu item to boost sales 3% to 4%. Silberman estimates quesadillas can contribute 5% to 10% to same-store sales at the chain.

Finally, the quesadilla rollout reveals how Chipotle is thinking about new menu items.

Niccol helped create a new “stage-gate” program for testing new menu items at Chipotle. At the same time, the chain is open to new menu items and options that are only available on the app for a limited window, drawing from fast-food rivals strategy of limited-time offerings. Taco Bell is known for its limited-time offerings, a strategy that was developed partially by Niccol when he was CEO of the chain from 2015 to 2018.

“I’m really proud of how we’ve been disciplined in what we’ve done with the menu,” Niccol told Insider.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Taco Bell fans are demanding the chain bring back Mexican Pizza after the return of potatoes. Here’s why a top Taco Bell exec says not to give up hope.

Taco Bell Mexican Pizza
Taco Bell’s Mexican Pizza.

  • Taco Bell removed Mexican Pizza from menus in November, and fans still aren’t over it.
  • An exec said “there’s always a chance” that the beloved dish returns.
  • Taco Bell just put potatoes back on the menu after they were slashed in 2020.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Taco Bell cut the Mexican Pizza from menus back in November, but some fans now have renewed hope that it might come back soon.

The Mexican Pizza was one of more than a dozen items cut from Taco Bell’s menu in 2020, alongside other beloved items like the seven-layer burrito and cheesy fiesta potatoes. Mexican Pizza consists of a flour tortilla shell filled with refried beans, seasoned ground beef, and Mexican sauce, topped with another tortilla, Mexican sauce, cheese, and chopped tomatoes.

Read more: Taco Bell’s Grilled Cheese Burrito – and its controversial decision to kill menu items like its beloved potatoes – send sales soaring

“While we know fans may be understandably sad to see some of their favorites go, this evolution of our menu truly paves the way for fresh new ideas,” Taco Bell President and Global Chief Operating Officer Mike Grams said in a September press release.

Since the announcement, fans have rallied around the Mexican Pizza and called for Taco Bell to bring it back.

@eatitkatie

First fiesta potatoes and now THIS?! TAG @tacobell to STOP THEM 🛑 ⬇️ ##Mexicanpizza ##eatitkatie ##tacobell

♬ original sound – Eat It Katie!

Fans shared recipes to recreate the dish at home, and a popup in Austin recreated the Mexican Pizza and other dishes fans missed the most.

Now, Mexican Pizza lovers might have reason to hope again. Taco Bell announced potatoes are returning to menus on March 11 after months of protest. “We definitely heard from our consumers – because they love our potatoes,” Taco Bell’s global chief food innovation officer Liz Matthews told Insider. “We do have a direct line with our consumers and they’re loud and vocal, and we love that because they’re passionate about our brand.”

Taco Bell taco pizza

When Insider asked about the potential return of Mexican Pizza, Matthews said “I think there’s always a chance. We’re constantly listening to our customers. So, I wouldn’t pull that off the table.”

Taco Bell frequently changes its menu, though rollout of new items slowed slightly during the pandemic. Despite outcries from fans last year, the leaner menu proved to be a smart decision as Taco Bell shifted to more drive-thru orders, and sales grew 5% in the quarter following the menu change. The chain has since announced that chalupas would also return on March 11.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Taco Bell celebrated the return of potatoes to its menu with taco NFTs that sold out in minutes. Now, they’re reselling for thousands of dollars.

Taco Bell NFT
Taco Bell NFT.

Taco Bell just became the first fast food chain to jump into the NFT trend with five versions of digital art, selling five copies of each. Taco Bell is calling them “NFTacoBells.”

NFTs are digital assets that have been around since 2017, and in 2020 they became a $250 million market. Creators are already realizing the potential to make millions in the relatively new space. Grimes sold her digital collection for $5.8 million in a 20-minute auction. A Miami art collector sold a 10-second video for $6.6 million. The NBA Top Shot online marketplace has done over $65 million in sales in just the last week.

Taco Bell’s 25 total pieces of crypto-art sold in under 30 minutes on Sunday on the platform Rarible, the company told Insider. The five types were each related to Taco Bell’s menu in some way, and started out priced at $1 each. The “Ever-Crunching Tacos” piece received the highest bid of 2 WETH, or about $3,646, according to CoinGecko. One of the pieces is for sale now for 10 ETH, or $18,365.25.

Taco Bell NFT
Ever-Crunching Tacos.

Even with the low initial price of a dollar, the pieces can generate significant money for Taco Bell, which gets 0.01% in each subsequent sale. Taco Bell says all profits will go towards its Live Mas scholarship.

Another piece in the collection, “Tato Dimensions,” shows a 43-second clip of what looks like a spicy potato soft taco. The timing of these NFTs fits nicely with the return of potatoes to Taco Bell’s menu on March 11 after backlash from furious customers.

Taco Bell NFT
‘Tato Dimensions.

“Right now, we are in the experimentation phase of the market, so I would expect to see lots of different experiments from musical and visual artists, brands, tech companies, media companies, and creators of all stripes. Sometimes brands can be rewarded for embracing emerging consumer trends earlier than their peer group, so kudos to Taco Bell” Venture capitalist David Pakman, an investor in NBA Top Shot, told Insider in an email.

“That said, in the long run, I expect that there will be way more supply of NFTs than there is demand for them, and the cream will rise to the top,” Pakman said.

Taco Bell “may drop a second one in the future” the brand hinted.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Taco Bell’s newest item is both a chicken sandwich and a taco, and it’s dropping in March

Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco_Regular
Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco.

  • Taco Bell is introducing a chicken sandwich taco.
  • It will launch in Tennessee and North Carolina in March ahead of a nationwide rollout.
  • Several fast food chains have introduced chicken sandwiches to compete with Chick-fil-A and Popeyes.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Taco Bell is becoming an unexpected participant in the chicken sandwich wars with a new Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco.

The hybrid menu item will first be available in Nashville, Tennessee and Charlotte, North Carolina beginning March 11, with a planned nation-wide rollout later this year. The Sandwich Tacos will retail for $2.49.

The chain is calling the new item “disruptive,” insisting it’s both a sandwich and a taco. It comes with white meat chicken marinated in jalapeno buttermilk, seasoned with spices, and rolled in tortilla chip coating. The chicken comes served in “puffy bread” folded into a taco shape with chipotle sauce.

Taco Bell will sell both regular and spicy versions. The spicy taco will come with jalapeno slices “for those who can take the heat,” the company says.

Crispy Chicken Sandwich Tacos
Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Sandwich Tacos.

Taco Bell is joining the ranks of nearly every other major fast food player with a crispy chicken sandwich option. 

Insider has reported on several chains gearing up to introduce competitors to Chick-fil-A and Popeyes, both of which sell crispy chicken sandwiches with pickles. In January, KFC introduced a crispy chicken sandwich at nine locations, available across the country by the end of February, and Jimmy John’s dropped its own version of the chicken sandwich in a Super Bowl ad. Burger King announced a new chicken sandwich coming later this year, and McDonald’s is bringing its own entry this month.

Taco Bell has been one of the most successful fast food chains throughout the pandemic of the last year. It cut more than a dozen items in 2020, including fan favorites like the seven-layer burrito and Mexican pizza. Despite outcry from fans last year, the leaner menu proved to be a smart decision as the chain shifted to more drive-thru orders, and sales grew 5% in the quarter following the menu change.

More menu changes are on the horizon too. Taco Bell announced potatoes would return to menus in March after months of protest. 

The company also teased that more chicken items are coming to the menu later this year, writing “Taco Bell fans everywhere will be excited to know this isn’t our only crispy chicken innovation arriving in 2021” in a statement.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Taco Bell fans are demanding the chain bring back Mexican Pizza after announcing the return of potatoes. Here’s why a top Taco Bell exec says not to give up hope.

Taco Bell Mexican Pizza
Taco Bell’s Mexican Pizza.

  • Taco Bell removed Mexican Pizza from menus in November, and fans still aren’t over it.
  • An exec said “there’s always a chance” that the beloved dish returns.
  • Taco Bell just announced that potatoes would be back on the menu after they were slashed in 2020.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Taco Bell cut the Mexican Pizza from menus back in November, but some fans now have renewed hope that it might come back soon.

The Mexican Pizza was one of more than a dozen items cut from Taco Bell’s menu in 2020, alongside other beloved items like the seven-layer burrito and cheesy fiesta potatoes. Mexican Pizza consists of a flour tortilla shell filled with refried beans, seasoned ground beef, and Mexican sauce, topped with another tortilla, Mexican sauce, cheese, and chopped tomatoes.

Read more: Taco Bell’s Grilled Cheese Burrito – and its controversial decision to kill menu items like its beloved potatoes – send sales soaring

“While we know fans may be understandably sad to see some of their favorites go, this evolution of our menu truly paves the way for fresh new ideas,” Taco Bell President and Global Chief Operating Officer Mike Grams said in a September press release.

Since the announcement, fans have rallied around the Mexican Pizza and called for Taco Bell to bring it back.

@eatitkatie

First fiesta potatoes and now THIS?! TAG @tacobell to STOP THEM 🛑 ⬇️ ##Mexicanpizza ##eatitkatie ##tacobell

♬ original sound – Eat It Katie!

Fans shared recipes to recreate the dish at home, and a popup in Austin recreated the Mexican Pizza and other dishes fans missed the most.

Now, Mexican Pizza lovers might have reason to hope again. On January 14, Taco Bell announced potatoes would return to menus in March after months of protest. “We definitely heard from our consumers – because they love our potatoes,” Taco Bell’s global chief food innovation officer Liz Matthews told Insider. “We do have a direct line with our consumers and they’re loud and vocal, and we love that because they’re passionate about our brand.”

Taco Bell taco pizza

When Insider asked about the potential return of Mexican Pizza, Matthews said “I think there’s always a chance. We’re constantly listening to our customers. So, I wouldn’t pull that off the table.” 

Taco Bell frequently changes its menu, though rollout of new items slowed slightly during the pandemic. Despite outcries from fans last year, the leaner menu proved to be a smart decision as Taco Bell shifted to more drive-thru orders, and sales grew 5% in the quarter following the menu change.

Now, Taco Bell says it is working on new plant-based items in collaboration with Beyond Meat and new chicken items.

Read the original article on Business Insider