By Jordan Valinsky, CNN Business
Taco Bell is apologizing for its breakfast menu.
In recent years, it has been littered with questionable foods, such as the Naked Egg Taco or even the Waffle Taco, that have since been discontinued. Turns out, people just want the basics and the chain is finally accepting that. Now, the company is releasing a new ad campaign that includes with an apology of sorts for its past behavior, along with a promise that it won’t go that crazy again.
“We honestly over-innovated in breakfast,” admitted Sean Tresvant, Taco Bell’s chief brand officer, in an exclusive interview. “When you look at today’s consumer and the [fast food] breakfast business, it’s about familiarity and it’s about comfort.”
Taco Bell has been focusing on those two things. Since it was brought back last year after a brief pandemic-induced pause, its breakfast menu has been filled with unique items without going overboard compared to past creations.
Currently, the menu features breakfast-themed takes on its popular afternoon and evening foods, such as breakfast burritos, quesadillas and crunchwraps all stuffed with eggs, cheese and meats.
As a result, breakfast sales have surpassed its 2019 sales levels, Tresvant said, adding that “slow and steady wins the race and in breakfast, you have to be consistent.” Breakfast makes up about 6% of its sales, the chain has previously said.
To help promote breakfast, Taco Bell has enlisted Pete Davidson, a comedian best known for a stint on “Saturday Night Live” that Tresvant said “probably took it a little bit too far sometimes,” similar to how the chain went a “little too far on breakfast.” Tresvant said it was a “great partnership” because Davidson is a fans of the chain and appeals to Taco Bell’s younger customer base.
Two 30-second TV ads featuring Davidson will be released this month and run until December 24. In one cheeky spot, Davidson walks into a Taco Bell says “Sometimes, we go too far. I have, and that’s why Taco Bell has hired me to make an apology for them.” The other ad shows Davidson waking up from a dream thinking about the chain’s breakfast.
Battle for breakfast
Although Taco Bell isn’t making any changes to its breakfast menu, its competitors have adjusted their own. In recent weeks, Wendy’s added french toast sticks, McDonald’s is selling a new cheese danish and Tim Horton’s has a new waffle sandwich on its US menus.
Bolstering breakfast is a smart business decision: A recent report from research firm NDP Group revealed that business for mornings has remained steady in the second quarter of 2022, while other parts of day (including lunch and dinner) declined in the midst of rising menu prices.
According to new research from GlobalData, breakfast is also entering a resurgence because of people are resuming their pre-pandemic routines of returning to the office.
“With such a large portion of the population regularly making a commute, it is unsurprising that breakfast sales have remained steady,” said Hannah Cleland, a food service analyst at GlobalData, in a recent note. “Consumer spending habits in response to the cost-of-living crisis have been nuanced, but it is clear that a small breakfast treat is still being incorporated into many people’s budgets.”
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