Coffee sales a 'pleasant surprise' from Taco Bell's new breakfast

April 7, 2014 | by Alicia Kelso

Taco Bell this morning provided an update about its breakfast platform, just two weeks after its launch. CMO Chris Brandt said the consumer response has been great, the company is pleased by the feedback and Taco Bell is "just getting started" in the morning daypart.

To keep this momentum going, the brand will launch its newest TV spot Tuesday called "Get With The Times." Like its Ronald McDonald spot that debuted with the menu launch, this ad also takes a direct aim at McDonald's, traditionally the QSR segment's breakfast powerhouse. In the ad, Taco Bell implies the morning offerings at the Golden Arches are dated.

"We wanted to boldly disrupt breakfast. We saw a sea of sameness and we think we have truly unique offerings and alternatives for people to try something new and get a little more out of life," Brandt said. Everything we've done has a wink and a sense of humor and with the launch of (the Ronald McDonald ad) we think we really did that. (McDonald's) has had breakfast for a number of years and we want to offer the next generation of breakfast and let people know there is something different out there."

Check out the new commercial:

What's working so far for breakfast?

Taco Bell is currently in a quiet period, so sales figures about the breakfast are unavailable. However, Brandt said the company is "really pleased and optimistic." The three top sellers, "as expected," have been the A.M. Crunchwrap, the Waffle Taco and the Cinnabon Delights.

The dark horse on the menu has been coffee. Taco Bell's premium Rainforest Alliance-certified coffee, made with 100-percent Arabica beans, has been a "real pleasant surprise" Brandt said.

Although coffee has moved well thus far, Taco Bell will remain focused on the 'innovation aspect" of food.

"Then, as breakfast becomes more developed, then the sky's the limit for us to bring in more unique offerings to the beverage space," Brandt said.

The company believes the novelty of items such as the Waffle Taco will not wear off from one-and-done consumers who simply want to try something unique to the market.

"In fact, we are looking at our innovation pipeline to figure out how we can accelerate and broaden our offerings," Brandt said. "We believe all products we put out there have staying power. We didn't want to do things that weren't going to last."

He added that the morning menu will continue growing as Taco Bell restaurants continue to nail down its execution. Expect more coffee beverages, yogurt parfait and oatmeal — items that were on test menus.

"Consumers didn't not like them, they just weren't big sellers out of the gate. As breakfast develops more, you will see those things pop back in to round out our menu," Brandt said.

New Doritos Locos coming

Although Taco Bell has committed its biggest marketing efforts ever to the breakfast menu, Brandt promised there is more going on, including the next iteration of the Doritos Locos Taco coming in early May.

"We view breakast as an 'in addition to' everything else we're doing, not an 'in place of,'" he said. "That said, we've done a lot of innovation with the new (Doritos Locos Taco) and we're really excited about it."

Topics: Food & Beverage , Marketing / Branding / Promotion , Research & Development / Innovation

Alicia Kelso / Alicia has been a professional journalist for 15 years. Her work with, and has been featured in publications around the world, including NPR, Good Morning America, Voice of Russia radio, and Franchise Asia magazine.
View Alicia Kelso's profile on LinkedIn

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