(Continued from page 1)

Like its predecessors, however, the Cantina Power items also push into the upper range of Taco Bell’s pricing.

The steak Power Bowl, for example, is priced at a recommended $5.19, though the chicken version comes in a bit lower at $4.99. The suggested pricing for the burrito is $3.79 for chicken and $3.99 for steak.

Vegetarian options, which hold the meat, but increase the beans, are also available, at $3.79 for the burrito and $4.99 for the bowl.

The Power breakfast test will be conducted in Omaha, Neb., Niccol said.

The Greek yogurt is a boutique brand developed in partnership with Three Happy Cows. To be tested in a vanilla bean flavor with a granola topping, the product has 17 grams of protein per serving and 240 calories. The suggested price will be $2.49.

Taco Bell has offered a yogurt parfait in the past, but Niccol said the Greek version offered a “higher-protein solution at another daypart.”

The breakfast burrito and bowl options will include larger portions of meat and eggs. Both will be priced at a suggested $2.79 each.

Later, the chain will add Power versions of other menu items, including more burritos or the Crunchwrap platform, Niccol said.

If deemed successful, the higher-protein breakfast options would likely roll out in the first half of 2015, said Niccol.

Taco Bell has long been known for its more indulgent menu options, like the Quesarito, a mash-up of a burrito with a quesadilla, which debuted last month. The seasoned beef version has 650 calories, 34 grams of fat and 22 grams of protein.

Niccol said those items are not going away, but the chain aims to offer guests more variety for those looking for ways to fit the flavors of Taco Bell into their lifestyle in different ways.

“We’re not eliminating the things we’re famous for,” he said. “We’re expanding our relevance.”

The Fresco menu, launched in 2008, allows guests to cut calories and fat by customizing existing menu items, he noted. Coming down the pike will be more vegetarian options, though Taco Bell customers can order existing menu items without meat.

However, Niccol said, Taco Bell’s customers “are not looking for diet food.”

They’re looking for food that gives them energy, he said. They want variety, but also want the craveability Taco Bell is known for at lower prices.
“We want everybody to have access to food like this,” he said. “You’re not going to have to pay an arm and a leg to get great tasting, high-protein solutions.”

A subsidiary of Louisville, Ky.-based Yum! Brands Inc., the nearly 6,000-unit Taco Bell has set a goal to double its sales from $7 billion in 2012 to $14 billion, and to open another 2,000 restaurants.

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