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Taco Bell bacon taco Photo courtesy of Taco Bell
Taco Bell's ill-fated bacon taco.

A quick look at some of Taco Bell’s menu failures

Taco Bell’s restaurant menu innovation engine is constantly churning, but not all products find the success of a Doritos Loco Taco or Nacho Fries.

Plenty of menu news came out of Taco Bell’s Live Más Live event last week. For a company that brought items like the Gordita, Doritos Locos Tacos, Mtn Dew Baja Blast, and Nacho Fries to the masses, such news isn’t unusual. The innovation wheel at Taco Bell is constantly in overdrive.

But while many of these innovations have yielded tremendous success, there has also been a fair share of product failures.

“I’ve seen a few things over the past few years that have gone completely sideways,” Liz Matthews, Taco Bell’s chief food innovation officer, said during the event.

Here’s a quick look at some of those rare failures:

  • The Burgerito. This can be best described as a cheeseburger and burrito tie up. “No, it didn’t work,” Matthews said.
  • Fire sauce with Boba. Taco Bell tried to incorporate the boba trend into its signature Fire sauce. Boba, for those unfamiliar, is most often found in teas and is made from tapioca starch. The small spheres are typically simmered in a brown sugar syrup, which gives them a sweet taste and dark black color. Added to the sauce, "it might be a bad idea,” Matthews said.
  • Bacon Tacos. For this innovation, the taco shell was made entirely of bacon. Sounds delicious, right? “It got super awkward holding that much bacon in your hand. It turns out you can have too much bacon,” Matthews said.
  • The Chizza. This was a piece of chicken fried like a Tostado and topped like a pizza. “No, that didn’t work,” Matthews said.
  • The Hashbrown Taco. This taco had a shell made out of hashbrowns, which Matthews said is a lot harder than one would think. “We have had our fair share of misses,” she said.

Given how much product development happens in the Taco Bell test kitchen, there’s sure to be more. But for now, the products making their way to the menu this year have already been through plenty of market tests and are therefore less likely to end up on this list.

Contact Alicia Kelso at [email protected]

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