- 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.
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.
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.