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Also new in the test are tweaks to beverages. Taco Bell has been serving Seattle’s Best Coffee in its locations offering breakfast, but the new test will include a non-branded “premium Rainforest Alliance-certified” coffee, available hot and iced in various flavors: regular, caramel, vanilla or mocha. The suggested price is $1.49 for regular; $1.79 for caramel or vanilla; and $1.99 for mocha.

Earlier in the year, Taco Bell had been testing a breakfast soda called MTN Dew A.M., a blend of Mountain Dew and orange juice. PepsiCo Inc. has since come out with a similar soda it calls MTN Dew Kickstart, which will be the version included on the new Taco Bell test menu as a fountain drink for a suggested $1.69 for a regular and $1.99 for a large.

“You can buy Kickstart in stores now, but we’ll be the only QSR offering it,” said Matthews. “Taco Bell consumers love their Mountain Dew.”

Other existing breakfast menu options will also be on the test menu, including regular Tropicana orange juice for $1.69, along with the bacon-and-egg or sausage-and-egg burritos for $1.49, and a steak-and-egg burrito for $2.29.

For value-focused customers or those looking for a smaller bite, the $1 A.M Griller, with bacon or sausage, scrambled eggs and cheese, will also stay, as well as the $1 crispy hash browns.

For the new version of the breakfast test, some units will experiment with opening even earlier in the morning — some as early as 6 a.m., depending on the location, Matthews said. The locations offering breakfast so far have been opening typically between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m.

Matthews said Taco Bell has “a full team of food scientists and culinary experts” looking for ways to crack the code on the morning meal.

“Really the only innovation there has been in the industry on breakfast has been egg whites,” said Matthews, referring to McDonald’s recently introduced Egg White Delight McMuffin. “But we’re looking for a lot more innovation.

“It’s not just about filling up for your day,” she added. “It’s still about the experience, even when you don’t have a lot of time in the morning.”

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