The chain that brought you the Doritos Locos Taco has taken a can’t stop, won’t stop approach to innovation.
Taco Bell arguably created the current fast-food menu innovation craze when its launched the Doritos Locos Taco in 2012. It certainly wasn’t the first over-the-top fast-food mashup, but it was one of the boldest that proved to be a massive hit.
Doritos Locos Tacos inspired a lot of sequels from the Yum! Brands (YUM) – Get Yum! Brands Inc. Report chain and it led to a lot of rivals trying to create their own snack chip mashups. Restaurant Brands International (QSR) – Get Restaurant Brands International Inc. Report Burger King, for example, offered Mac N’ Cheetos, a deep fried take on macaroni and cheese that got the chain a lot of attention but never really took off.
People love fast food and people love snack chips, so combing the two makes a lot of sense. Taco Bell’s sister brand, KFC, has offered a fried chicken sandwich stuffed with Cheetos and the other Yum! brand Pizza Hut offers a Cheez-it Calzone.
“All of these bizarro crossover and mash-up items might sound a bit dystopian, but for fast food chains, there are few things more effective than new products that are both somehow familiar and new at the same time,” Adam Chandler, author of Drive-Thru Dreams, told the BBC. “These gimmicky offerings have taken off in recent years because they’re carefully crafted, not just for physical consumption, but for digital consumption as well.”
Creating food that gets attention on Instagram makes sense as it’s free publicity and Taco Bell has leaned into the trend.
Image source: Taco Bell
Taco Bell Has Another Snack Chip Tie-in
Taco Bell has recently added four items to its menu (although some are just in the testing phase). Two are fairly ordinary:
Cheesy Double Beef Burrito: This one packs a double portion of seasoned beef, seasoned rice, nacho cheese sauce, fiesta strips, sour cream, and a three-cheese blend wrapped in a flour tortilla. There’s also a spicy version that adds jalapenos and “red strips,” a spicier take on the fiesta strip.
Mango Freeze and Mango Whip Freeze: Both are made with mango syrup an the Whip Freeze is blended with sweet vanilla creamed.
The other two, however, try to recapture the Doritos Locos Magic. That’s something the chain has been chasing since that product first redefined the fast-food game. Now, Taco Bell has decided to offer two new menu items made with Cheez-Its, the same snack food product its sister brand once partnered with for calzones.
How Is Taco Bell Using Cheez-Its?
The innovative fast-food chain is using Cheez-Its in two different products, according to Eat This, Not That. The two Cheez-It menu items are:
Big Cheeze-It Tostada: This is a tostada using a giant Cheez-It as the base. “It is topped with ground beef, sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, and shredded cheese,” according to the website,.Big Cheeze-It Crunch Wrap: For this menu item. Taco Bell has placed the Cheeze-It on the inside adding the snack chip to the normal Crunch Wrap.
Both of these products are only being tested, but they should be hits for a chain that has proven that fans want these types of mash-ups.
Neither of these new offerings is all that different or all that bold. This is Taco Bell, in the wake of its Mexican Pizza fiasco, going back to its tried and true menu playbook. Fans, however should be delighted by the new Cheez-It offerings because they’re different while also being familiar, There’s nothing really new here but that has been how Taco Bell has operated for years — innovate without much actual innovation to give the people something new that won’t push any boundaries.