Taco Bueno Restaurants, the 190-unit regional Mexican chain, is targeting nutrition-conscious diners with a nine-item “Bueno Choice Menu” containing items ranging from 150 to 450 calories each.
The Dallas-based company said the new offerings include a 280-calorie bowl of Fresco Chicken Soup with seven vegetables for $3.99; a 440-calorie vegetarian black bean burrito for $1.89; and a 160-calorie Vegetarian Tostella for $1.69.
Citing National Restaurant Association surveys indicating 73 percent of U.S. adults say they now try to eat healthier at restaurants more than they did two years ago, John Miller, chief executive for Taco Bueno said, “Healthy dining is top of mind for consumers.”
The new menu, he added, “was created to meet the demands of these health-conscience consumers.”
The menu also includes a chicken fajita taco for $1.89, and a steak fajita taco for $2.09, which range between 190 and 210 calories; and soft or crispy chicken, $1.69, and beef tacos, 99 cents, between 150 and 200 calories. All but the Fresco Chicken Soup are permanent menu additions.
Taco Bueno also added the Taco Bueno Choice Kids Meal, which includes apple slices instead of cinnamon chips and a fruit smoothie to replace soda.
Bonnie Riggs, restaurant industry analyst for The NPD Group’s foodservice division, said: “There’s definitely this movement, looking for healthy-light options.
“Again when we are talking healthy-light, consumers describe it as fresh ingredients, food that they can see prepared before them,” she said. “They believe that to be fresh when they see it prepared."
Taco Bueno has units in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected].
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the price of the steak fajita. The story has been corrected to reflect the $2.09 price point.