Taco Bell is bringing back its Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes and Spicy Potato Soft Taco
Taco Bell wants to bring its vegetarian customers back.
The Yum Brands chain is resurrecting its beloved potatoes and will be testing a menu item with a Beyond Meat substitute after last year’s menu cuts disappointed their meat-free customer base.
Taco Bell eliminated eight menu options in two rounds of cut to simplify its operations when the coronavirus pandemic resulted in long lines at the drive-thru. The outlets of the iconic Mexican pizza and other products pissed off vegetarians who have fewer fast food options to choose from, even though the chain said it still had over 30 meat-free ingredients available.
“We definitely knew we would hear from our fans about some of the things we removed, but we knew we had to do this to make sure our team members had the best experience,” said Liz Matthews, Taco Bells global staple food innovation officer.
Starting March 11, customers will be able to order the Spicy Potato Soft Taco and Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes for the first time since leaving in September. The potato filling of the soft taco was popular with meat-free customers.
Matthews said the chain is planning new menu items that use these potatoes. For those customers who hold on to the hope that items like the Nachos Supreme will return, the chain is currently not planning to bring back any more items.
In another appeal to vegetarian customers, Taco Bell plans to test an item this year made with a vegetarian substitute from Beyond Meat. At the moment, Taco Bell is not sure how to use it.
“I’d say it will be unique to the things you’ve seen elsewhere, so we’re definitely going to take our Taco Bell innovation in and out,” said Matthews.
In 2019, when the vegetable meat trend took off, then North American operations manager Julie Felss Masino told CNBC that the chain had met with Beyond and its rival Impossible Foods but decided to stick with its own vegetarian options. Masino is now President of Taco Bell International.
Taco Bell is a brand we don’t want to do what everyone else is doing, “said Matthews.” We want to do it in our own unique way. “
Yum is expected to release its fourth quarter results on Feb.4, which would include for the first time the impact of Taco Bell’s menu cuts. In the third quarter of the burrito chain, sales grew 3% in the same store.
Yum’s shares are up 7% over the past year, bringing them to a market value of more than $ 32 billion. Sales in the same store at US restaurants, which include KFC and Pizza Hut, rose again, but international locations remained under pressure in the third quarter.