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Trending this week: Taco Bell is testing two new Mexican Pizza variations

This week on Nation's Restaurant News the top story was Inspire Brands sells Rusty Taco to Gala Capital Partners. Dunkin’ and Sonic Drive-In parent company Inspire Brands announced Monday the sale of fast-casual brand Rusty Taco to Californian private investment firm Gala Capital Partners. The terms and price of the brand’s acquisition were not disclosed, though the Rusty Taco management team, including president Brendan Mauri, invested in the acquisition and will also stay onboard as part of the team.

In other news, Taco Bell’s Mexican Pizza has proven time and time again to be a significant sales driver for the brand and now the platform may create an even bigger tailwind. The company announced it is testing two new variations of the iconic product, including a Cheesy Jalapeno Mexican Pizza in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and a Triple Crunch Mexican Pizza in Omaha, Nebraska. Both pizzas will be available for a limited time beginning Dec. 22.

Also, while 2021 was the year we were introduced to AI voice ordering in the drive-thru lane, 2022 became the year we started seeing the labor-saving technology everywhere. As it turns out, 2023 is likely going to be the year that AI voice technology is improved and perfected. For this month’s Tech Tracker column, we spoke with Soundhound about the tech company’s latest audiovisual AI technology for food ordering that more easily understands natural cadences of human speech. The goal? Less friction and frustration in the drive-thru lane as customers struggle to get a robot to understand their lunch order.

See what else was trending on this week. 

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