By now, we’ve all probably heard Taco Bell kids’ meals are going off the menu — and if you, like me, have kids (and if you, like me, are not above the drive-through at least once a week because of work and exhaustion), you probably are aware how they stood out as the least awesome kids’ options in the junk/fast food space.
Let’s unpack the Taco Bell kids’ meals thing. Firstly, fast food restaurants have been working on healthy options (which has mainly translated into a weird bag of unappetizing apples forced upon kids everywhere, and more apples in landfills) over the past few years, with The Bell a notable outlier.
While Taco Bell kids’ meals were the same weird combo of one of two or three menu items and cinnamon twists — which as far as we know are only eaten by people who are high — McDonald’s, Burger King, and others did the smaller fries/bag of apples concession thing. So there’s that.
On top of that, the Taco Bell kids’ meals just had unintuitive choices. Toy aside, most kids meals have an economical combo of one of several kid-friendly choices (nuggets, burger, a hot dog), fried potato things, and a drink and toy. Taco Bell’s low-cost value menu meant that the chances are whatever it is you kid likes to eat, it wasn’t a bean burrito or plain taco — my sole taco eater likes the Cheesy Beefy Melt at 10 years old.
And toys — McDonald’s and BK partner up with major motion pictures for the kinds of toys your kids cry about when you pass a McD. When was the last time you even remember what toy Taco Bell kids’ meals featured? For all the fast-fooding this working mom has done, I can’t remember any toy Taco Bell ever offered, much less one my kids begged for like when the McDonald’s across the street had My Little Pony freebies or something with Mario.
All in all, Taco Bell kids’ meals kinda sucked anyway. Compared to the Sonics and the Checkerses of the space, The Bell is wholly unsuited to kids’ meal ordering — and now that the chain is trying to “focus on millenials,” we can almost guarantee kids will be actually more interested in eating there because they love stuff that isn’t aimed at them once they hit about eight or nine.
Taco Bell CEO Greg Creed said:
“We want to strengthen and be really clear and focused on our brand positioning as the brand for millennials… And a kid’s meal is just inconsistent with the edgy, left-of-center millennial brand.”
Did your kid like Taco Bell kids’ meals?