ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Taco Bell is considering adding fries to its menu permanently, as it looks to compete with fast-food rivals such as McDonald’s, reports CNN.
“People that go to lunch want to have French fries. We know that. So, we’re looking at and testing bringing fries permanently on to the menu, which would increase our lunch business dramatically,” Taco Bell CEO Mark King said during an investor event.
Taco Bell’s Nacho Fries have been on its menu as LTOs since the product launched in 2018. “We offer fries half the time,” said King.
“If you were to look at how we compete against McDonald’s in dinner and late night, we’re absolutely even. When you look at breakfast and lunch, we’re significantly behind,” King said. He added that the chain plans to “commit to breakfast” to help compete in the category.
“There’s a big opportunity just in those two dayparts to increase our business significantly over the coming years,” King said.
Taco Bell brought its Mexican Pizza back to menus after not offering the item for a couple years, and the company has seen success. The chain added the item back to menus in May and by the end of June, it had already sold 20 million Mexican Pizzas across the U.S. The chain attributed growth in loyalty membership to customers’ desire for early access to the product. It made the item permanent in the fall.
In October, Taco Bell announced the return of Nacho Fries nationwide for a limited time and introduced Loaded TRUFF Nacho Fries for two weeks while supplies last. TRUFF is a Southern California hot sauce brand that was founded through a popular food and lifestyle Instagram blog called @sauce. TRUFF fries were tested in California last year.
Taco Bell also is testing a new vegan plant-based protein option in Birmingham, Alabama, inspired by “classic Taco Bell flavors.” This pilot test is Taco Bell’s third try at a proprietary meat option since parent company Yum! Brands announced a partnership with Beyond Meat in 2021, reports CNBC. The fast-food chain said that the Beyond Meat product partnership will be available before the end of 2022.
Last year, Taco Bell tested a “Cravetarian” plant-based protein, made from peas and chickpeas, and the Naked Chalupa with a crispy plant-based shell made from pea protein. A representative for Taco Bell told CNBC that the new meat alternative is an improved version of the one tested in the Cravetarian taco.