Taco Bell Now Testing Fried Chicken In Some Menu Items

Taco Bell (YUM) is now testing a new market strategy – fried chicken.

Investor Place is reporting the fast-food chain will now have at least four items with “crispy chicken” in limited markets.

Yum Brands spokesman Rob Poetsch says the restaurant is testing new items and fried chicken is one of them. However, Taco Bell says it’s still really far from launching its fried chicken offerings across the nation.

The chain has introduced a number of products with crispy chicken over the last year. These include the Double Crispy Chicken Quesadilla, Double Crispy Chicken Crunchwrap, Dipped Crispy Chicken Grillers and a breakfast Biscuit Taco with fried chicken.

Some are puzzled by Taco Bell’s move considering its sister restaurant KFC focuses almost entirely on selling fried chicken.

YUM stock is up 0.4% Thursday afternoon

USA Today is reporting that though KFC is a sister company already focusing on fried chicken under the YUM! Brands umbrella, they are assisting Tack Bell with knowledge. YUM! spokesperson Rob Poetsch said “We’re looking at new items across the menu and fried chicken is one of them.” But, he stresses, “we’re a ways from any national introduction.”

For Taco Bell, it’s been recently about creating new choices for customer, as their foray into the breakfast arena proves. Competition in the $200 billion fast-food industry is stiff and Taco Bell is stretching to try to attract new customers and bolster its appeal to its base of 18 to 34-year-old guys.

Despite the drumbeat of Americans wanting healthier foods, fried chicken continues to show up in some pretty unlikely places – including salads, atop pizzas and now, inside Mexican food offerings.

“Cardiologists across the country should be lining up to say thank you,” says Erika Napoletano, a brand strategy consultant and founder of RHW Media.

Taco Bell is contacting KFC for advice on how to fry the chicken. While Taco Bell’s recipe, kitchen equipment and preparation methods are different from KFC’s, by consulting with KFC chefs, says Poetsch, “we were able to build know-how in preparing our own signature Crispy Chicken recipe.”

Not everyone is impressed.

“I love fried chicken, but why would I want to go to Taco Bell to get it?” Napoletano says. “Millennials are food-conscious. They care about what’s going into their body.”

But Poetsch says Taco Bell is simply doing what its customers want it to do – offer variety and flavor. “People eat a lot of fried chicken,” he says. “So the question is, how can we do it in a way that’s unique to Taco Bell?”

It is possible that at one point, customer can ask for fried chicken on a Taco Bell product. But, again, that doesn’t impress everyone.

“I’m from Texas, and no one ever put fried chicken in a quesadilla,” Napoletano said. “That’s blasphemy.”

[Image courtesy of Connect Mid Missouri]