Last week, Taco Bell president Brian Niccol agreed to an Ask Me Anything via Reddit, a topic-driven chat board full of the brand's heavy user demographic. Although he was bombarded with all sorts of questions, here are some things we learned from the few he actually had time to answer:
- If he could add anything to the menu, it would be beer.
- Being president of Taco Bell is the greatest job ever, besides being CEO of Taco Bell.
- We should all "stay tuned" about Pepsi "releasing Baja Blast into the wild." One reader said it's launching in May.
- Don't look for guacamole on the breakfast menu any time soon. Niccol said he's "not sure everyone in America is ready" for such an offering.
Niccol also asked readers to submit sauce ideas (many want more heat) to Taco Bell privately. "We do have some new sauce packets coming. Would love your opinion," he wrote.
And, the new breakfast menu will be expanded in the future. "There is definitely more to come. In fact, there are a few new breakfast items in test right now," Niccol wrote.
However, the hours of the morning daypart will likely remain 7-11 a.m. "We would love to serve breakfast all day, but in order to make the food great and get you in and out quickly we need to serve from 7 am until 11 am," he said.
The AMA even had a cameo from comedian Michael Ian Black, who continued his plea to be the new spokesperson for Taco Bell. He wrote:
"Mr. Niccol, this is Michael Ian Black, noted expert and very famous. A while ago, I asked to become the new spokesperson for Taco Bell, appealing directly to President Obama to make this happen. He did not. Now I am forced to go over his head and speak to you personally.
"As a longtime fan of Taco Bell, I would like to become your company's new spokesperson. I have extensive experience as a spokesperson (Pets.com, Sierra Mist, AllState, Klondike, etc.) and two million Twitter followers. Furthermore, I enjoy money, and would love to receive a lot of money from you ... Please address this situation at your earliest convenience. Until then, I remain your brother in tacos."
Also throughout the thread, many mentions were made about 4/20, a common reference to marijuana use. Some readers asked Niccol point blank if Taco Bell's sales spike on April 20, or if the brand's marketing was catered specifically toward the stoner crowd. Niccol insisted he had no idea what 4/20 was.
How did the AMA go? Maybe it was the repeated 4/20 references, but one reader said it was the funniest he/she's ever seen on Reddit. Another suggested that all c-suite execs do the same and jump on Reddit to engage their customers.
Here is the entire thread. Colorful language included.
Alicia has been a professional journalist for 15 years. Her work with FastCasual.com, QSRweb.com and PizzaMarketplace.com has been featured in publications around the world, including NPR, Good Morning America, Voice of Russia radio, Consumerist.com and Franchise Asia magazine.