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First Meal: Taco Bell Debuts Fast-Food Breakfast

Ladies and gentlemen, the wait is over! The one and only Taco Bell, in a delectable co-branding effort with Seattle’s Best, Cinnabon, and Johnsonville, has unveiled its starting roster of breakfast menu items, dubbed First Meal.

Let the artery clogging (in the most good-humored sense of the term) begin:

“Delicious Johnsonville breakfast sausage” with side of Cinnabon Delights chock-full of “glorious frosting” and a “fresh-brewed Seattle’s Best coffee” to wash it all down?

Well, it’s not going to be the most heart-healthy way to start my day off, but I’ll give First Meal a try nonetheless. And hey, if I’m feeling guilty about indulging in a few cholesterol deligh… er, Cinnabon Delights, I can always compensate with the reported “better-for-you items such as oatmeal and yogurt parfaits” that the brand is offering as well.

Personally, I’ve been a Fourth Meal devotee for roughly a decade, due in no small part to the amount of money I’ve saved with TB’s Value Menu (and undoubtedly at the expense of my physical health), so if Taco Bell is vying for my early morning cash, then I’d hardly be an open-minded consumer if I didn’t oblige them.

But why, all of a sudden, is Taco Bell sticking its nose into the fast-food breakfast fight when late-night is clearly their forte? The brand is practically synonymous with inexpensive after-hours munchies, and to be frank, that image has been worked well for them thus far. Even with other big-name brands on board to make this a breakfast rollout of epic proportions, why risk spreading resources thin by expanding the menu in the first place when competing fast-food chains already have the morning market cornered?

The answer may be that Taco Bell’s new early-shift menu items aren’t so much a trick up the brand’s sleeve as they are a long-time-coming lineup of deliciousness that’s destined to be a sure hit. At least, that’s what TB is probably thinking.

Ready or not, Taco Bell is debuting its “11-item breakfast line in 750 restaurants in 10 states. By 2014, the chain hopes to have 5,800 units serving breakfast.” (Click here for a preview.)

I can say with near certainty that I’ll personally be trying a number of these items.

Will you?

Sound off below!

Image Credit: Yaisog Bonegnasher.


Joseph Giorgi

Joseph is the head of the Media Team at Quality Logo Products. He's a video specialist, blogger, perfectionist, and all-around likeable guy. When he's not busy focusing on the nitty-gritty details of his written and visual work, he's normally listening to bad 80s music and scouring the internet for useless information on useless subjects. You can also connect with Joe on Google+.

Comments

  1. Jaimie Smith

    That second commercial is pretty hilarious if you ask me.
    This sounds interesting though. I’ve never imagined eating taco bell other than times like late night cravings like you mentioned. I may end up trying this, though. Nice post, Joe!

    • Joseph Giorgi

      I hear ya. I’ve only ever associated Taco Bell with the late evening, so I’m anxious to find out whether they’re early morning offerings can give McD’s a run for its money.

  2. Candice J.

    I’m not a huge Taco Bell fan but I do enjoy it when I can. I’m all for any restaurant serving delicious breakfast at the most affordable price possible. So if Taco Bell can fit my budget then they have a new customer in me!

    • Joseph Giorgi

      Same here, Candice. I just want a decent breakfast and I don’t want to have to pay too much for it. :)

  3. Eric

    “Fluffity fluffy eggs?!?!”

    The menu – or at least as much of the menu as they’re advertising – is too limited. Now, I’m just making an observation, not a complaint, here. My guess if they’re initially going to test the “idea” of breakfast, and if people get on-board with it, they’ll expand the menu accordingly.

    Right now, with a limited menu, I wouldn’t buy into it, sadly. Where’re the huevos rancheros? I understand (much in the same way McDonald’s multi-purposed existing menu items) that they’re trying to expand their menu while keeping the new ingredients to as few as possible.

    Seriously, though, they could add eggs and chorizo to about anything on the menu and I’d more than happily call it breakfast.

    I think using brand-name products will assuage some of the initial doubt and trepidation over the “Fourth Meal” establishment’s attempt at breakfast service, but I think for the idea to truly take off, they’ll need to have a decent selection of items.

    http://www.ocregister.com/articles/taco-336444-bell-breakfast.html?pic=0#article-photos

    (The above link will take you more photos of the 11-item menu)

    Any fast-food-slinging drive-up can toss some meat, cheese, and eggs into a tortilla, but if they want an edge, they should take advantage of the chance to offer something different than the competition. Breakfast burritos? Far from imaginative.

    Nice post, sir. I’m more than sure it’ll inspire some heated “First Meal” debate!

    • Amanda

      Great post Joe! I had no idea Taco Bell would even consider doing breakfast. But, I have to say, after seeing the pictures–it does look good. I love breakfast burritos, so if they can master them…they’ll have a new customer in me. =)

    • Joseph Giorgi

      More selection would be nice, but 11 items is certainly nothin’ to scoff at either. I’m sure that the First Meal menu will expand in due time, but for the time being, I’m pretty excited about the notion of more fast-food breakfast offerings in general — the fact that it’s Taco Bell we’re talking about here only sweetens the deal.

      You’re right though: TB is gonna need to come up with a unique “edge” to its breakfast food if it’s gonna compete with the likes of McD’s. Hopefully they will — sooner rather than later.

  4. Jeff Porretto

    #1 – I’m going to pretend I didn’t see those cinnabon bites, lest I grow out of all my pants in about 3 weeks time.

    #2 – I figure “Why not?” If it succeeds, then great! If it fails, well then they’ll just go back to doing what they do best. That the nice thing about being a company as large as Taco bell. A few failures here and there are more than made up for by the massive successes!

    Nice post Giorgi (about time :) )!

    • Joseph Giorgi

      “Why not?!” is exactly right. I’m totally rooting for TB here! God knows their breakfast menu items will be dirt cheap, so as long as they’re (somewhat) edible as well, then they’ll be a hit.

  5. Mandy Kilinskis

    Any time that there is a mention of Cinnabons, I’m going to have to try it out.

    I think that they’re really smart to dive in with so much cobranding. Just saying “Taco Bell has breakfast” wouldn’t bring me in the door the way “Taco Bell has Cinnabon” will. I wish Taco Bell the best in their endeavors.

    And now I will wait for the inevitable “Taco Bell Breakfast Hours Should Be Longer [OPINION]” post from you, Joe. ;)

    • Joseph Giorgi

      I’m sort of curious as to whether TB’s hours are going to stay the same or if they’re going to begin earlier now that breakfast is on the menu. I’ll tell you one thing: you can be SURE that I’ll do an opinion piece if the breakfast hours aren’t up to my standards.

  6. Alex Brodsky

    I concur with both Joe and Eric here.

    Joe: Yes! I have been a fourth meal enthusiast for ages. Many a night in DeKalb were spent waiting in that drive thru (including once in the “Drunk Bus”). So why not give them the benefit of the doubt. Especially with the belt-busting cinnabon bites.

    But Eric is 100% correct in that they need to offer something new. McDonalds and Burger King offer mostly the same items, and I always choose McDonalds. If Taco Bell offers the same things, I’ll still most likely choose McDonalds. I don’t want to go to a Mexican restaurant for hash browns of sausage patties. Give me “authentic” mexican breakfast foods to really stand apart.

    Delicious post, Joe!

    • Joseph Giorgi

      Thanks! :)

      Agreed. If TB doesn’t up the ante with a few UNIQUE breakfast offerings of its own, then McD’s may very well remain my go-to destination for fast-food breakfast. I REALLY hope they’re up for the challenge, because the prospect of “Taco Bell Breakfast” is just too inexpensively delicious to pass up.

  7. Rachel

    This is definitely a really interesting idea! I think I would like it better if Taco Bell served these breakfast options during that “Fourth Meal” time window — that is, during their late-night hours. Maybe it’s just me, but grabbing a breakfast burrito and a few of those Cinnabon Delights at 1am sounds kind of awesome. But, it looks like from your links that they’re only going to serve the new menu items during traditional breakfast hours. :( I almost never get fast-food for breakfast, so I probably won’t try any of this stuff unless it’s served at a different time of day. Nevertheless, I hope Taco Bell succeeds! Just looking at the pictures makes me hungry. :)

    Thanks for the info, Joe! Great post!

    • Joseph Giorgi

      :(

      Based on what I’ve read, yeah, it seems like these new items are only going to be available during traditional breakfast hours — which is a shame, since TB definitely has an opportunity here to differentiate itself from the likes of McDonald’s and others by offering breakfast food at the time that night-owls like myself would want it. But, you never know. Maybe they’ll wise up to that fact sooner or later. (I can dream that they will, at least.)

  8. Jen

    I want Taco bell so bad right now! UGH! Those Cinnabons look mighty delish.

    I think they will do well serving breakfast, I have faith they will make a mean breakfast burrito. :) YUM!!!

    Nice post Joe!

    • Joseph Giorgi

      Yeah, you just know that the “breakfast burrito” is something that Taco Bell will be GREAT at no matter what! Can’t wait to find out! :)

  9. Amy Swanson

    Mmm, I had Taco Bell for lunch today and it was fabulous. I’ll eventually try their breakfasts, have to wait until the hype dies down ;)

    Speaking of the great and marvelous TB, it seems they’ve been busy with new ways of branding. Today they announced on March 8th they’ll have Dorito taco shells!

    Thanks for the head’s up, Joe! Much appreciated!!

    • Joseph Giorgi

      I actually just heard about their Dorrito-shell announcement the other day. I’m a bit skeptical though. I wonder if all that extra Nacho Cheese and Cool Ranch flavoring will compliment the rest of the ingredients or if will all just end up tasting strange. Then again, I can’t really expect five-star cuisine from Taco Bell. Haha.

  10. Jenna Markowski

    I have faith in all things Taco Bell. I believe that they will quickly catch on to the fact that “Hey! Our target audience of drunk 20-somethings could really get behind breakfast at 2 a.m.! We should do that!”

    I also really appreciate that second ad, which basically says “You thought Taco Bell tasted good when you were drunk? Imagine how much more AWESOME it will be when it’s made of breakfast food and you’re hungover!”

    I am really excited about this, but I hope that other delicious things on their menu don’t get dropped in order to make way for a new breakfast menu. They’ve already dropped Baja sauce, and therefore Baja Chalupas, which fills me with endless sorrow. But at least the Dorito Taco is on its way!

    Great post, Joe! I’ve never wanted Taco Bell or breakfast more than I do right now.

    • Joseph Giorgi

      Thanks, Jenna!

      You’re 100% right: breakfast food is fantastic when drunk/hungover, and TB would do well to start making it available at all hours of the night. 2 A.M. breakfast burritos? Sign me up! :)

  11. david k waltz

    Joseph,

    At first pass this does not seem to fit. I agree that the late-night business makes a lot more sense.

    However, ever since McDonalds introduced the Egg McMuffin, the fast-food industry cottoned on to the fact that they have assets “on the ground’ 24/7, and using them for only one or two meal is not, in the jargon, “optimal”. If Taco Bell’s restaurants are idle for 6 or 7 hours (when exactly does “late night” end and “lunch” begin?), it is not surprising that they feel they must enter the ring.

    But Johnsonville? There are restaurants without the Taco Bell theme that offer Mexican type breakfasts, it seems they should address those rather than pursue a path that in some ways seems somewhat like a brand betrayal.

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