Taco Bell may be emerging from taco hell.
It hasn’t been easy. There was the E. coli outbreak in late 2006 that sickened 70 and closed dozens of restaurants. Then, the rat infestation at a New York City unit in 2007 that became an Internet must-see.
Wednesday, the image-challenged chain – which has slowly but methodically regained its footing – will detail a 2008 product game plan that could nudge folks to forget the past and instead drive into Taco Bell in droves: cheap eats.
We’re talking really cheap.
The same chain that turned the fast-food industry on its head back in 1990 when it introduced cut-rate, 59-cent, 69-cent and 79-cent menu items is about to do it again. Taco Bell on Thursday is rolling out its ‘Why Pay More?’ value menu with 10 products – 4 of them new – priced at 79 cents, 89 cents and 99 cents.
For Taco Bell, the timing could hardly be better. The battered economy has sent much of the $558 billion restaurant industry tanking. After staying above the fray for months, the fast-food industry finally succumbed in March, when sales at units open at least one year dipped about 0.5% compared with the same period in 2007, reports research firm Technomic.
Taco Bell‘s move also comes just ahead of the frantic summer season, when fast food bags more sales than any other time of year.
Photo: D. Kevin Elliott / USA TODAY.