Taco Bell says: Wake up with a waffle taco

Test-marketing of the 460-calorie breakfast menu item is expanding, and for the company the stakes are high.

By Jonathan Berr Aug 7, 2013 11:51AM
Taco Bell's breakfast waffle taco (© Taco Bell/AP Photo)Is America -- and perhaps the world -- ready for a breakfast sandwich of waffles, eggs, sausage and syrup? Yum Brands' (YUM) Taco Bell sure hopes so.

The chain yesterday announced plans to expand test-marketing of the waffle taco as it prepares to bolster its breakfast offerings next year. Diners can find the waffle sandwich at about 100 locations in Fresno, Calif., Omaha, Neb., and Chattanooga, Tenn. starting Aug. 8, according to Nation's Restaurant News (NRN).

From a nutritional prospective, the waffle taco packs 460 calories and 30 grams of fat, which is better than some sandwiches and worse than others. Taco Bell also is offering healthier breakfast options such as oatmeal with fresh berries, a fruit-topped yogurt and a granola parfait, which should be welcome news to people watching their diets.

The stakes for Yum are high with the waffle taco. As NRN noted, Americans spend about $42 billion annually on breakfast in restaurants, one of the few bright spots for the industry. Taco Bell's strength has helped Yum offset the declines at its China restaurants caused by concerns about the safety of its food sold there.

U.S. same-store sales at Taco Bell, a key measure of sales activity as stores open a year, rose 2% in the most recent quarter.

Reviews of the waffle taco have so far been mixed.

Writing on Serious Eats, Erin Jackson proclaimed, "If they could, my taste buds would have called the cops." Jezebel's Erin Gloria Ryan declared the breakfast sandwich to be "an abomination."

Other reviewers were kinder.  

E! Online proclaimed on Twitter, "We are losing our minds that this is now a thing!" One Instagram user cited by The Atlantic found the sandwich to be "awesome."

Whether investors will find the waffle taco to be yummy remains to be seen. Shares of the fast-food operator were up fractionally in early Wednesday trading.

Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.

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Aug 7, 2013 12:43PM
I'm sorry, but that looks NASTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Aug 7, 2013 5:23PM
It's really no different than the McGriddle....  Those must be pretty popular because they're still around....
Actually it doesn't sound half bad....
Aug 7, 2013 1:23PM
How 'bout unfolding it, adding maple syrup to the waffle,  and eating the rest with a fork?
Aug 7, 2013 5:55PM
How does Taco Bell do it?! They have taken basic ingredients that could be tasty elsewhere (individually, or perhaps sharing a plate) and turned them into one DISGUSTING combination. I'm surprised that they didn't toss in beans, rice & sauce to match the rest of the menu. This must be "fifth meal" thinking. Yuck.
Aug 7, 2013 8:07PM
Holy smokes, when will it end!  One more thing to fatten up America.
Aug 7, 2013 12:50PM
my kid might like  that , but only with Bacon LOL  . How about something more Taco bell style , breakfast burritos  . I'm just not a waffle person
Aug 8, 2013 9:11PM
It looks like female parts if I'm saying 
Aug 7, 2013 4:54PM
taco bell R & D Dept has gone off the deep end. With everyone trying to eat healthy these days there ideas are insane. So insane that pretty much everyone thinks they have  hired a bunch of pot heads to come up with the next gross menu. Why not breakfast burritos or breakfast bowl or breakfast peta/wrap? Come on a waffle taco???? Gross
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