Taco Bell CEO Greg Creed appeared on CNBC Thursday to discuss the brand's new Waffle Taco, currently in test in five California stores for the breakfast daypart.
The Waffle Taco is a waffle wrapped around a sausage patty and scrambled eggs. It costs 89 cents.
And while Taco Bell had (and continues to have) historical success with its Doritos Locos Taco (and Ranch Doritos follow up), Creed said the Waffle Taco appears to be on track for a similar boost.
"What's amazing is it's in five stores and it's already picked up 42 million impressions in social media. I don't think I've ever seen a product in five stores pick up so much (mostly positive) social buzz," Creed said.
Unlike the Doritos Locos Taco, however, which Creed called a "dramatic" creation, he said the Waffle Taco, which has less than 400 calories, is "just another innovation."
"The challenge with a waffle is you either need a knife or fork, but no one's ever turned it into a taco," he said. "Sometimes the biggest innovation is not earth shattering."
Taco Bell currently has a breakfast menu in about 800 stores in the West. Creed said many of its fans are excited about the jump into the morning daypart, as it offers them another choice for that meal.
The CEO also discussed anticipated growth, with plans to expand from 6,000 units nationally to 8,000, mostly in rural areas, where the brand is "underpenetrated."
Internationally, there are less than 300 Taco Bell restaurants. "We have a long runway in front of us," Creed said.
Sales-wise, Creed believes Taco Bell can double sales — from about $7 billion to $14 billion — within the next eight to 10 years, which would lead to the hiring of about 100,000 people.
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