Taco Bell (YUM) - Get Yum! Brands Inc. Report follows no menu boundaries. Yes, it's ostensibly a Mexican restaurant and most of the menu involves takes on tacos, burritos, nachos, and variations on what Americans consider classic Mexican fare.
That, however, has not stopped the fast-food chain from pushing boundaries or even ignoring them.
Earlier this year, for example, Taco Bell added chicken wings to its menu for single week. Wings aren't entirely out of place at a Mexican restaurant, but they represented an expansion of what the chain traditionally serves.
Tradition has not generally limited Taco Bell, which has also offered the Naked Chicken Chalupa -- essentially a taco where a folded piece of fried chicken serves as the shell. And, of course, the chain has offered a variety of different takes on french fries under its Nacho Fries branding.
But, most of the lunch and dinner menu at Taco Bell sticks roughly to a broad Mexican theme. In the morning, however, the chain has mixed Mexican and classic fast-food breakfast.
Its latest creation qualifies as a new take on an American classic. It's familiar in a comforting way but also something a bit unique.
Taco Bell Expands Its Breakfast Menu
Taco Bell launched breakfast nationwide in 2014. It was a bold, smart move for the chain designed to take on McDonald's (MCD) - Get McDonald's Corporation Report (the established morning leader). The chain offered its own take on the morning meal mixing traditional flavors like eggs, bacon, and sausage with soft tacos, unique beverages, breakfast burritos, and Crunch Wraps (burritos wrapped in a slightly different way).
At the time of the launch, then president (now Chipotle CMG CEO) Brian Niccol shared what the chain hoped to accomplish.
“Breakfast is the fastest growing daypart in QSR, and until now, consumers have been stuck with the same, old breakfast sandwich choices everywhere they turn,” he said. “We intend to break the boring breakfast routine by making mornings fun again. By reinventing the traditional tastes of breakfast in a way that only Taco Bell can, we’ll give America a fresh new perspective on classic breakfast tastes, with the value we’re famous for. And we’ll support it with a marketing campaign that challenges the status quo.”
It's debatable whether Taco Bell has achieved that, but it has continued to try new things and now it has been testing a Grilled Cheese Biscuit for its morning menu.
Taco Bell Tests a Grilled Cheese Biscuit
Always looking for its next great menu idea, Taco Bell has been testing a Grilled Cheese Biscuit at select test locations in Knoxville, Tennessee, Chewboom reported.
"The Grilled Cheese Biscuit features a warm buttermilk biscuit topped with melted three-cheese blend. They’re also testing a Grilled Cheese Biscuit Sausage, where you get a warm buttermilk biscuit filled with a sausage patty and topped with melted three-cheese blend," according to the website. "The Grilled Cheese Biscuit is available on its own for $1.99, while the Grilled Cheese Biscuit Sausage carries a suggested price of $2.49."
And while there's nothing inherently Mexican about a Grilled Cheese Biscuit, the new menu item does not feel out of place on the chain's breakfast menu. It's a variation on the familiar breakfast biscuit that's still meaningfully unique in a way that consumers should like.
No other chain has a menu item quite like this one. That should help Taco Bell drive sampling and draw some new attention to its breakfast offering.