Taco Bell will launch its long-awaited Quesarito — a mash-up between a quesadilla and a burrito — nationwide on June 9, the Irvine, Calif.-based quick-service operator said Thursday.

Company officials have been saying for months that the Quesarito is its best-selling product in test markets since the Doritos Locos Tacos platform was launched in 2012, an effort that was billed at the time as “reinventing the taco.” Since then, Taco Bell has sold more than 825 million Doritos Locos Tacos.

The chain, a subsidiary of Yum! Brands Inc., is now looking to “reinvent the burrito,” said Taco Bell president Brian Niccol, who will become chief executive on Jan. 1, 2015.

Earlier this year, Niccol described the Quesarito as “a killer product,” that was “lighting it up” in the test market of Oklahoma City.

Like Doritos Locos Tacos, the Quesarito is the result of a marriage of flavors. A large grilled quesadilla loaded with melted cheese is filled with various protein options, seasoned rice, chipotle sauce and reduced-fat sour cream, then rolled into a classic burrito.

“We’re constantly hearing stories about two great things coming together to create something extraordinary, and that takes on a life of its own,” said Chris Brandt, Taco Bell’s chief marketing officer, in a statement. “We have just that with the Quesarito, our latest mash-up of a full grilled cheese quesadilla wrapped around a classic burrito, making something so good that you can expect to see more flavor combinations down the road.”

The permanent menu item will be available for a suggested price of $1.99 with seasoned beef, and it will contain 650 calories with 34 grams of fat.

The Quesarito with seasoned chicken will be priced at a suggested $2.79, and it will contain 620 calories and 30 grams of fat.

A steak version will be priced at a suggested $2.99, and will have 640 calories and 31 grams of fat.

Beginning June 12, the launch will be supported by TV ads entitled “Imagine,” which take a humorous look at one woman’s Quesarito-fueled dreams. The ad was produced by Deutsch LA and features the band Capital Cities, which was also part of Taco Bell’s “Feed The Beat” tour promoting new artists.

The chain is also planning to initiate interactive games across social media platforms to raise awareness for the Quesarito launch.

The new product launch comes just months after Taco Bell rolled out its breakfast daypart nationally, with a menu starring the popular Waffle Taco and A.M. Crunchwrap.

The nearly 6,000-unit Taco Bell also has pledged to double system-wide sales to $14 billion and open another 2,000 restaurants. The company said this summer it will also launch a new fast-casual taco concept called U.S. Taco Co. and Urban Taproom.

Contact Lisa Jennings at lisa.jennings@penton.com.
Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout