A chalupa with a fried chicken “tortilla” was just the beginning for Taco Bell. Now, the chain is testing a breakfast taco that uses a fried egg as the shell.
Taco Bell announced on Thursday that it will begin testing the Naked Breakfast Taco in Flint, Michigan in mid-April. The breakfast taco, which uses a fried egg as a carrier for potato bites, nacho cheese, shredded cheddar, and bacon or sausage crumble, will cost $US1.99.
For customers who find a fried egg shell to be too unorthodox, Taco Bell is also offering a “dressed” version, wrapped in a flatbread.
One of Taco Bell’s guiding strategies in creating new menu items is “how do you twist it, how do you make it different, how do you make it stand out?” according to Liz Matthews, the company’s chief food innovation officer.
For breakfast, that means taking classic American ingredients and twisting them in unfamiliar ways to make them more portable and “Mexican-inspired.” According to Matthews, Americans don’t necessarily want to eat something completely different for their first meal of the day. Instead, they want to eat revamped takes on the classics — eggs, potatoes, bacon, sausage.
“When we first started breakfast, we were like, ‘Oh people want a spicy burrito!'” Matthews said. “No, they actually want the American breakfast taste.”
The perfect example of this is the Waffle Taco, which dominated headlines when Taco Bell launched breakfast, despite the fact customers actually purchased many more Breakfast Crunchwrap Supremes. Matthews says that she would have made some tweaks to the Waffle Taco’s debut if she could go back in time, but the menu item still managed to encapsulate the company’s attempts to take something familiar, deconstruct it, and build a uniquely Taco Bell breakfast creation.
Business Insider recently had the chance to visit Taco Bell’s test kitchen and taste the new Naked Breakfast Taco ourselves.
The new menu item’s biggest problem is similar to the primarily struggle with the successful Naked Chicken Chalupa: greasy fingers. A carrier helps prevent undue greasiness or spillage — but keeping the carrier on means hiding the egg yolk that proclaims to the world, “yes, I am eating a taco with a shell made out of a fried egg.”
When it comes to flavour, the Naked Breakfast Taco is on the right track.
It’s hard to go wrong with fried eggs, potatoes, breakfast meats, and cheese (in both the shredded and melty nacho variety). The nacho cheese helps alleviate one of the problems with using the egg as a taco shell: it needs to be cooked too much to allow for a nice, drippy yolk. And, while the Gordita Flatbread is slightly too big for the task assigned to it, the dressed version is a more portable and carbo-loaded choice.
The Naked Breakfast Taco is currently only slated to be tested in Flint, Michigan. However, if the test goes well, there’s a good chance the taco — or some iteration of it — might end up on menus across the US.
“We think it will pique people’s curiosity… People are going to be really passionate one way or another about it,” Missy Nelson, Taco Bell’s dietitian and product developer, said. “I think once you taste it, you’re going to want it again.”
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