It's here. Taco Bell's much-anticipated breakfast arrived early this morning, with fans already freaking out over the fast-food chain's variety of morning meal offerings.
Of course, the company is pushing the hype, giving away special Taco Bell breakfast phones to a select group of rabid followers and offering prizes to people who eat their breakfast and tweet a picture by 11 a.m. today.
— Taco Bell (@TacoBell) March 27, 2014
This is the big gamble for the company, which is poised to open 2,000 more restaurants and double its revenue by 2022, according to a release. Taco Bell president Brian Niccol is calling breakfast "one of the brand's priority initiatives of the year." The chain is also rolling out a mobile pay system, much like the one used by Starbucks.
Taco Bell's breakfast menu features much of the same items for lunch and dinner -- burritos and Crunchwraps -- made with a choice of bacon, sausage, or steak. The most notable item is the waffle taco. A waffle is used as a taco shell, with egg, cheese, and a choice of meat sealing the deal. The items are all value-priced, with the average item under two bucks. But how does it taste?
Hopping into the car, I headed over to the local Taco Bell, decorated with balloons for the big occasion. A sign offered the fact that I'm not dreaming (how Matrix).
A man was just receiving his burrito when I arrived to order, and there were a few people behind me -- not the mad crowd I was somehow expecting. The manager did gather up the entire crew for a photo op next to the breakfast sign. It seems this is a big deal on the store level. The burrito-eating stranger, by the way, came over to inform me that the cheddar in his breakfast was piquant, even sharp, and "better than Subway's cheese."
While waiting for the food, I noticed something kinda awesome. The restaurant had installed multiple electrical outlets everywhere -- including at the dining counters -- in an attempt to attract customers to eat and work there, à la Starbucks.
Ordering a bacon Crunchwrap, a sausage and egg burrito, a sausage waffle taco, and a coffee brought the bill to $8.20 -- a lot of food for less than ten bucks. Here's how the fare fared:
The sausage and egg burrito ($1.69) was filled with egg, sausage, and beans. A bright salsa pooled at the bottom of the burrito. Though the burrito would have been better with more of the tomato flavor in every bite, this was a far better fast-food offering than, say, Starbucks' egg wrap, which is about twice the price.
The A.M. Crunchwrap ($2.49) wasn't as successful. Filled with egg, bacon, salsa, and hash browns, it had too much going on, and the hash browns overpowered every bite and made the meal soggy, thereby negating the crunchy shell.
The waffle taco ($1.99) is Taco Bell's breakfast "belle." It's a sight to behold, smothered in cheddar. Though not a new idea by any means, turning a waffle into a taco shell is smart, and the sweetness of the batter works with the sausage, cheese, and egg. Though my waffle was a little soggy, it's a fully formed handheld breakfast that can totally do the job of soaking up last night's poisons.
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So if you're in a hurry for breakfast on the go, Taco Bell is a solid option in a pinch, packing more flavor than a standard egg sandwich. Even Ronald McDonald thinks so: