Taco Bell to introduce more upscale menu
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Taco Bell, often a late-night indulgence with its inexpensive fare, is going more upscale.
The chain said Wednesday it plans an early July rollout of a menu addition created by celebrity chef Lorena Garcia for its nearly 5,600 U.S. restaurants. New items feature such ingredients as black beans, cilantro rice, citrus- and herb-marinated chicken and cilantro dressing.
The introduction of items that Taco Bell executive Brian Niccol described as “gourmet Mexican,” is a venture onto the turf of casual-dining chains such as Chipotle Mexican Grill and Qdoba Mexican Grill that are known for higher-quality ingredients.
It’s a departure from such standards as tacos, burritos and chalupas that Taco Bell’s core young-adult customers crave and that will remain mainstays on menu boards.
Introduction of the Cantina Burrito Bowl and Cantina Burrito is part of the Irvine, Calif.-based chain’s transformation as its customers increasingly look for more than a quick bite on the go, said Niccol, Taco Bell’s chief marketing and innovation officer.
He credits Garcia, who will appear on Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” show this summer, as the force behind the Cantina Bell menu that the chain expects to eventually expand. The additions going nationwide July 5 take a bigger bite out of the wallet, but the newcomers also are bigger than the chain’s regular burritos.
The Cantina Burrito Bowl and Cantina Burrito, offered with chicken or steak, will sell for nearly $5 apiece. There will also be a vegetarian option.
Side dishes include chips and pico de gallo or corn salsa, chips and guacamole, or black beans and rice. Each will sell for $1.49.