Taco Bell Aims at Chipotle’s Market Share

Taco Bell, part Yum Brands Inc. (NYSE:YUM), has always provided fast food at reasonable prices. Recently, other contenders have stepped up offering fast food with fresh ingredients. Now, I’m not saying that Taco Bell’s food is not fresh, just that competitors have recently put an emphasis on fresh ingredients.

Well, after being around for 50 years, the taco chain has decided to respond to lagging sales with fresh ingredients.

The Cantina Bell menu rolls out for test this month in Bakersfield California and Louisville, Kentucky. Featuring “fresh” food, while staying at a reasonable for the consumer is Taco Bell’s goal, of course increasing their sales at the same time. Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG), one of Taco Bell’s “fresh ingredients” competitors offers tacos, burritos and bowls priced about $8. Taco Bell will offer similar items on the Cantina Bell menu for about $5

Where did the new menu come from? Well … you may have seen Chef Lorena Garcia, from Miami, who appeared with Steve Ellis, the founder and co-Chief Executive of Chipotle, on a episode of “America’s Next Great Restaurant.” Chef Garcia’s new menu offers has some Chipotle favorites, black beans, cilantro rice and grilled corn salsa.

Fresh seems to worth a little more to consumers. So, if the Cantina Bell menu is a success, it will be rolled out for customers at about 5,600 locations across the country. Yet, there is another kick in the menu. Later in the year, the chain will introduce Doritos Locos Tacos, made with PepsiCo’s (NYSE:PEP) very popular nacho cheese snack chips.

And if the company hasn’t rung your bell yet, they begin serving breakfast at 800 locations in the western U.S. this month. Can’t wait for those breakfast burritos.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jim Wilkerson at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com