The chain introduced a low-calorie, low-fat Fresco menu; a fruity iced beverage called Fruitista Freeze; and a value initiative called "Why Pay More?" Along the way, Taco Bell cemented its position as the late-night star.
The Mexican fast feeder has benefited from a new chief marketing officer, David Ovens, 50, who oversees ad support from DraftFCB, Irvine, Calif.
Taco Bell now accounts for half of Yum Brands' profits. The chain delivered a blistering 8% increase in third-quarter same-store sales, with a share of the credit going to the value menu, which launched during the summer. Items such as the cheese roll-up or bean burrito are priced from 79 cents to 99 cents.
Another bonus: Value menu purchases are incremental. Consumers are using the Taco Bell menu for add-ons, so their average check ends up higher. The rest of the quick-service industry has generally found the opposite to be true.