Breakfast and catering cited as catalysts for growth at Taco Bell

by Keith Nunes
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A Fritos taco is in the works.

NEW YORK — With breakfast now accounting for 6 percent of Taco Bell’s business, the Yum! Brands Inc. business unit has plans to grow the day part even more. Brian Niccol, the new CEO of Taco Bell, outlined the business’ strategy during Yum’s annual investor day that was held on Dec. 11.

“We have shaken up the breakfast category,” Niccol said. “We have entered breakfast, I think, in a way that no other brand has been able to do. In one year, we already have a profitable day part. It’s proving to be highly incremental. The thing that is really exciting as well is it’s truly brand-building as well.”

In 2015, Taco Bell will introduce the biscuit taco and continue to grow the A.M. Crunchwrap line, said Niccol. Taco Bell also plans to begin a catering platform in 2015 as well.

“There’s nothing better than when you see a catered event of Taco Bell,” he said. “When you look into the future, we have things like the Quesalupa, the Frito Taco, catering. You know, the innovation is in our DNA, and our food presents opportunities where we can do it in a way where we can still stay fast, stay accurate and deliver just a terrific experience.”

Experience was a focus of many of the Yum! investor day presentations. Much of the company’s domestic strategy is built around attracting millennials and enhancing their experiences with the Taco Bell brand.

“We’re listening and not just mirroring, okay — and I think that’s an important point,” Niccol said. “A lot of people talk about mirroring millennials. We’re going to listen to millennials and lead.

“And the way we lead is demonstrating that we’re listening through the experiences that we provide in our restaurants. So, we’re going to start working towards some open kitchen executions. We’re going to be looking at in-line executions … It’s another way to listen to our consumer to say we’re thinking differently about how we’re building our restaurants.”

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