Taco Bell breakfast thinking outside the bun

Taco Bell's Waffle Taco is just one of it's new breakfast offerings (Credit: Taco Bell)
Taco Bell’s Waffle Taco is just one of its new breakfast offerings (Credit: Taco Bell)

Taco Bell is rolling out a new breakfast menu nationwide, the largest menu expansion in the company’s history, beginning March 27. Offerings include a Waffle Taco, an A.M. Crunchwrap and Cinnabon Delights.

The Mexican fast food chain is hoping to break into the potentially huge breakfast market currently dominated by McDonald’s. The menu items are all built for portability in the hope that millennials will eat with one hand and text with the other.

“Fans already like to come to Taco Bell for lunch and dinner, and they share with us their love of late night. Now they’re not just asking, but telling us they want Taco Bell breakfast,” Taco Bell President Brian Niccol said in a release. “To give customers the great-tasting food and Live Más experience, with value in mind, we have invested in our most extensive training ever for Team Members and will not require any major new equipment for operators.”

The menu puts a certain Taco Bell twist on some favorite breakfast tastes. The Waffle Taco — a warm waffle wrapped around a sausage patty or bacon, with scrambled eggs and cheese, served with a side of syrup — already has social media abuzz with excitement.

The decision to enter the breakfast arena was likely made with the millennial generation in mind, says Beth Vallen, Assistant Professor of Marketing at Fordham University.

“I think that [the breakfast menu] is very much in line with their strategy to target 20- and 30-year-old millennial consumers,” Vallen says. “McDonald’s is the leader in breakfast. They do a lot of breakfast, but the one complaint from the millennial consumer is ‘I can’t get up before 10:30.’ So in comes Taco Bell with their innovative new offerings.”

That market could certainly make Taco Bell’s breakfast plan a success.

“They’re trying to get into this space to tap into that market of people who are maybe out late, but at some point they get up and eat breakfast,” Vallen says. “If they can really grab that market and be that place that the millennial consumer turns to, that could be a good position for Taco Bell to be in.”

However, competing with McDonald’s could certainly pose quite a challenge for Taco Bell.

“No one’s been able to [challenge McDonald’s] successfully in the past,” Vallen says. “But, that being said, most of the breakfast offerings that we’ve seen from fast food retailers have been sort of the traditional egg sandwiches and pancakes. What Taco Bell is offering really does seem to be different and that could be a real distinguisher in the marketplace.”

In spite of the possible difficulties, Chris Brandt, Taco Bell’s Chief Marketing Office, seems more than ready to face McDonald’s head-on.

“Breakfast is the fastest growing day part in [fast food], and after years of the same old thing, we’re confident our breakfast will wake up customers’ morning routine,” Brandt said in a release. “Taco Bell will bring them a classic breakfast experience.”


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