With the recent success of Taco Bell’s Doritos Locos Tacos, the fast food chain has big plans to continue its success by launching a brand new menu. The new ‘Cantina Bell’ menu is inspired by casual dining chains like Chipotle and Qdoba, which are known for their high quality ingredients. The new menu was created by celebrity chef Lorena Garcia who will appear on “Top Chef Masters” this summer, and will be unveiled at Taco Bell’s 5,600 locations sometime in July.
Taco Bell classifies this food themselves as “gourmet Mexican”, and new items on the menu will feature cilantro rice, black beans, citrus and herb marinated chicken, and cilantro dressing. Taco Bell executive Brian Niccol says the move comes from customers increasingly expecting more than just a quick bite on the go. Of course Taco Bell standards like burrito’s, chalupas and nachos will remain on the menu for the restaurant chain’s devoted following of young-adult customers.
The new Cantina Burrito Bowl and Cantina Burrito will be pricier than Taco Bell patrons are accustomed to, and will sell for around $5 each. Customers can also choose from new side dishes including chips and pico de gallo, guacamole, and black beans and rice. Taco Bell executives acknowledge that these new menu items may draw skepticism from some critics, but they are ultimately hoping to increase options for customers and attract new ones as well. In addition, Taco Bell will refund customers or offer them replacements if they are not satisfied by the new Cantina Bell dishes.
The Cantina Bell menu has already been tested at several locations in California, and the brand has seen an increase in lunch and dinner business as well as more female customers. Taco Bell is hoping to capitalize on a niche that may desire food more substantial than Taco Bell’s regular menu, without paying the higher prices at Chipotle and Qdoba.
Taco Bell will spend over $20 million on advertisements for Cantina Bell once the items are released nationwide, and hopes to continue the momentum that it has had in 2012. After a yearlong lawsuit alleging that Taco Bell’s meat contained too many additives to be called beef, its sales have finally rebounded, and it plans to offer its breakfast menu nationwide by 2014.
Taco Bell currently account for 60% of the sales of its owner, Yum Brands Inc., which also owns Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pizza Hut.
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