Taco Bell added a new signature item Thursday to the menu at its more than 800 restaurants that offer breakfast: the A.M. Crunchwrap.
The new item puts a morning twist on the Irvine, Calif.-based chain’s popular Crunchwrap Supreme. The original Crunchwrap Supreme features seasoned beef and warm nacho cheese sauce with lettuce, tomato and reduced-fat sour cream on a crisp tostada shell, all wrapped with a soft flour tortilla folded in a signature octagon shape and grilled. The item was designed for ultimate portability — it is easy to eat with one hand while driving.
The new breakfast version features scrambled eggs, cheese and a choice of bacon or sausage instead of beef. And in place of the crispy inner tostada shell, the A.M. Crunchwrap features a hash brown patty. Those ingredients are then wrapped in a soft flour tortilla and grilled.
Rob Poetsch, a Taco Bell spokesman, said the A.M. Crunchwrap will replace a Johnsonville sausage-and-egg wrap that was originally on the breakfast menu.
“We listened to our customers and they told us they wanted a complete, portable meal that was uniquely Taco Bell,” Poetsch said. “It’s a highly differentiated menu item from traditional breakfast sandwiches and, at $2.49, provides the value that only Taco Bell can deliver.”
The A.M. Crunchwrap will be available during breakfast hours, which end at 11 a.m.
After testing a breakfast menu for at least five years, Taco Bell began rolling out the early daypart platform, which it calls “First Meal,”  in January, bringing it initially to about 750 units in 10 states. Poetsch said the overall reaction to First Meal menu has been positive, “and has given us important feedback to introduce these new signature menu items.”
The company is continuing its plan to expand breakfast nationwide, and the platform is now in about 815 of the chain’s roughly 5,600 locations.
The addition of breakfast is one of a number of menu innovation strategies Taco Bell has taken on this year. In March, Taco Bell debuted the new Doritos Locos Tacos, the most successful product launch in the chain’s 50-year history. Taco Bell last week said 200 million of the tacos have sold, and the chain is testing two new Doritos flavors to expand the line .
In July, the chain also rolled out a new Cantina Bell menu  with dishes developed by celebrity chef Lorena Garcia.
Breakfast, however, has also been a focus of quick-service competitors McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King and Subway. McDonald’s reportedly has been testing expanded breakfast hours in some 24-hour locations in Ohio, offering the morning menu starting at midnight with an advertising campaign to draw in “Nocturnivores” for a late-night Egg McMuffin, a move that would also compete with Taco Bell’s strong late-night, or Fourth Meal, business.
Wendy’s has also been testing a breakfast platform for years, but company officials recently said the daypart isn’t yet showing the desired economic returns  and more work needs to be done before a national rollout.