By Jordan Valinsky, CNN Business
New York (CNN) — Taco Bell is synonymous with tacos, just perhaps not in the mornings. That’s finally changing.
For the first time, Taco Bell is adding breakfast tacos to its menu beginning October 12 for a limited time. At $1.49 each, the tacos include eggs and cheese, with an option to add bacon, sausage or potato, folded in a toasted tortilla.
For the past year, Taco Bell has focused on promoting its breakfast menu in the midst of increased competition from other fast food chains, like McDonald’s and Wendy’s. Taco Bell even enlisted comedian Pete Davidson to apologize for some of its past breakfast food flops, like the much-maligned Waffle Taco.
Breakfast sales have jumped 9% since the ads aired, with Taco Bell praising the campaign and Davidson for the turnaround. He will be featured in new spots for the breakfast menu later this month, with Taco Bell teasing he will have a “hot take on the most important meal of the day.”
Breakfast is becoming more important for Taco Bell since it brought it back on the menu in 2021 following a brief pandemic-induced pause. But its breakfast sales lag compared to other chains, such as McDonald’s, which says breakfast items account for about 25% of its revenue. Just 6% of Taco Bell’s sales come from breakfast, the chain previously disclosed.
Bolstering breakfast is a smart business decision. A recent report from research firm NPD Group revealed that business for mornings has remained steady in the second quarter of 2022, while lunch and dinner declined in the midst of rising menu prices.
Taco Bell also announced that in celebration of National Taco Day that it’s bringing back its Taco Lover’s Pass subscription program for two days only. Customers can buy a pass for $10 that gives them one free taco, including its breakfast tacos, for the next month. The offer begins Tuesday and ends Wednesday.
The only catch is that customers must be enrolled in Taco Bell’s digital rewards program. The promotion is meant to lure customers with a free taco in hopes they add more to their order and increase the amount they spend at the restaurant. It also gives restaurant owners data about ordering habits that helps target diners with customized deals.
Yum Brands (YUM), which owns the taco chain, said in a previous earnings call that it’s aiming to grow digital sales this year with more exclusives, such as this one. App users enrolled in its loyalty program spend 35% more compared prior to joining, the company said. As of August, digital orders now total $7 billion, or nearly half of Taco Bell’s global sales.
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