Taco Bell’s COVID-19 food innovation focused on chicken

Taco Bell is promising a “menu evolution” that is super focused on new chicken products in the coming months. Premium chicken items – from sandwiches to chicken wings – have seen a massive growth in foodservice sales over the past few years.

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Joshua Blanchard | Taco Bell
Joshua Blanchard | Taco Bell

Taco Bell is promising a “menu evolution” that is super focused on new chicken products in the coming months. Premium chicken items – from sandwiches to chicken wings – have seen a massive growth in foodservice sales over the past few years.

“When we think about the acceleration of new trends, it’s really clear for us that it’s chicken, and that means chicken as a whole category,” Heather Mottershaw, the quick service brand’s vice president of Product Development, told Forbes. “We’re focused heavily in this area at the moment, so expect lots to come here.” 

First experiment: Chicken wings

In August, the brand began testing Crispy Chicken Wings at their Fullerton, California location.

Priced at $4.99 for an order of five bone-in wings (drums and flats), Crispy Chicken Wings feature a vibrant Mexican seasoning and come served in a box with a side of Spicy Cattle ranch Sauce for dipping.

Taco Bell is also developing a tortilla-coated chicken strip product coated with panko breadcrumbs and tortilla chips marinated in a buttermilk jalapeño ranch sauce that will be served in a 6-inch flour tortilla, Mottershaw told Nation’s Restaurant News.

“Go Mobile” concept

Taco Bell also recently unveiled a new concept called “Taco Bell Go Mobile” specifically designed for customer’s ordering ahead through the brand’s mobile app. The unit features a smaller footprint, dual drive thru lanes, a synchronized digital experience that can detect when guests arrive, curbside pickup and concierge service by employees termed “bellhops.”

Off-premises dining has become very popular in recent years. The COVID-19 pandemic, which closed most restaurant dining rooms – has accelerated that trend.

“With demand for our drive-thru at an all-time high, we know adapting to meet our consumers rapidly changing needs has never been more important," Taco Bell president, global COO, Mike Grams, said in a statement. "The Taco Bell Go Mobile restaurant concept is not only an evolved physical footprint, but a completely synchronized digital experience centered around streamlining guest access points. For the first time, our guests will have the ability to choose the pick-up experience that best fits their needs, all while never leaving the comfort of their cars."

The first Taco Bell Go Mobile location is scheduled to open in early 2021.

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