Taco Bell Expands Breakfast Test With New Menu Items, Ads

Yogurt, Oatmeal Join 'First Meal' Lineup, Chain Eyes National Rollout Next Year

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Yo quiero breakfast?

Taco Bell is expanding its test of breakfast -- including a waffle taco -- on Aug. 8 in Chattanooga, Tenn., and Omaha, Neb., bringing it a step closer to a potential national rollout. And, for the first time, the company is planning on advertising its "First Meal" menu.

The waffle taco, until now testing at only a handful of locations in California, garnered a lot of attention on social media earlier this year. The breakfast menu will also contain less exotic-sounding fare, including a fruit-topped yogurt parfait and fruit-topped oatmeal.

The parfait and a Quaker-branded oatmeal are an effort to appeal to the health-conscious consumer. "Our breakfast test menu reflects what our customers tell us they want from Taco Bell. So while they expect us to put a twist on the traditional tastes of breakfast with menu items like the Waffle Taco and AM Crunchwrap, they also want balanced options like oatmeal and yogurt parfait," a spokesman said.

The Crunchwrap includes scrambled eggs, hash browns, cheese, bacon or sausage wrapped in a tortilla. Also on the First Meal menu are Cinnabon Delights, co-branded doughnut holes; breakfast burritos; and a new Mountain Dew drink called Mtn Dew Kickstart, described as an "energizing" carbonated orange beverage.

Taco Bell first launched its breakfast test concept in early 2012 to roughly 800 locations in 10 states including California, Arizona and Colorado. The company has been vague about when exactly a national rollout will happen, but David Novak, CEO of Taco Bell parent Yum Brands, said in its most recent earnings call that the Taco Bell franchise council was "optimistic about our national breakfast launch in 2014."

In testing so far, Taco Bell didn't advertise the breakfast menu aside from in-store marketing. But now the chain is planning a TV, radio and digital campaign for First Meal from Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch, Los Angeles.

Taco Bell has been on a product-news tear in the last few months. It's announced a commitment to more nutritious items: a new dollar menu: a "power protein" menu, and aid it is axing kids' meals from its menu. The chain will also introduce the next Doritos Locos Taco on Aug. 22, though it's not yet revealing the new flavor.

Taco Bell in 2012 spent about $280 million on U.S. measured media, according to Kantar Media.

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