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Originally published Monday, February 24, 2014 at 5:36 PM

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Waffle taco? Chain to debut breakfast with ‘Taco Bell twist’

The new menu comes after seven years of testing and food research as YUM brands chain strives to be a serious player in a $31 billion breakfast category dominated by McDonald’s


The Orange County Register

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Taco Bell fans will get a caffeinelike jolt when the chain launches a dozen classic and novelty breakfast foods next month, including a syrup-drenched waffle taco.

Certain Taco Bells have offered breakfast, formerly called First Meal, for two years. But on Monday, Taco Bell officials said they’ve fine-tuned the menu and are ready to pull the trigger March 27 in 5,500 restaurants nationally.

In addition to the egg-stuffed waffle taco, the menu includes an A.M. Crunchwrap, breakfast burritos, Cinnabon Delights, breakfast tacos, hash browns and a flatbread melt with sausage.

“We’re taking classic breakfast taste, and giving them a unique Taco Bell twist,” Chief Marketing Officer Chris Brandt said Monday.

The menu comes after seven years of testing and food research as the chain strives to be a serious player in a $31 billion breakfast category dominated by McDonald’s.

Taco Bell is pushing the envelope by adding a waffle taco to the menu. While other items have been tested for years, the much-hyped waffle taco made the final cut after being in the testing phase less than a year in a handful of California restaurants.

Last May, the puffy waffle taco went viral as food bloggers spotted it on menus. It came stuffed with eggs and sausage with syrup served on the side.

For the national rollout next month, the slightly tweaked waffle is thinner and comes in special packaging for easy handling, Brandt said. It also includes cheese and an option of bacon.

Some items tested didn’t make the final cut, including iced coffee and a mash-up drink of Mountain Dew and orange juice. Brandt said Taco Bell also scrapped using Seattle’s Best Coffee, opting for a private-label blend.

Once a financial drag on its parent company YUM Brands, Taco Bell has been the lone bright spot for the world’s largest multi-brand restaurant operator.

In 2012, the chain swapped its “Think Outside the Bun” slogan for “Live Mas.” It also rolled out the wildly popular Doritos Locos Taco, which was a viral hit — both at the cash register and in social media. Taco Bell called the reinvented taco, made with a Doritos-based taco shell, the most successful product launch in the chain’s history.



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