Taco Bell’s AVA-certified menu features new items: the Vegetarian Crunchwrap Supreme (a twist on the classic menu item elevated by black beans) and the Vegetarian Quesarito (a quesadilla-burrito packed with black beans). The 7-Layer Burrito is on there as well.
Firstly, Matthews wants to make it clear Taco Bell isn’t ditching any menu classics or disrupting what the brand leans on—seasoned beef, chicken, carne asada. It’s the opposite. A vegetarian-focused menu reinforces the architecture and direction of Taco Bell’s variety-driven goals. “We have to have choices for everyone,” Matthews says.
The unique thing about this launch, though, is that Taco Bell already boasted vegetarian-friendly food as a differentiating trait. It isn’t a costly overhaul that’s going to make operators sweat. It’s simply telling the message more clearly, with menuboards that streamline the ordering process.
Call it a menu alteration, not a revamp. But one that could serve and nurture what’s historically been a neglected quick-service customer.
“We do about 350 million servings of vegetarian product every year, whether it’s an already vegetarian item or someone is removing the protein and putting in beans,” Matthews says. “So yeah, this is a big deal for us. To shine it on a menuboard in one place and make it easy, we’re excited about it.”
Matthews says today’s customer values choice, but you have to temper it a bit. If there aren’t suggestions, some of those menu items might get lost in the well-intentioned jumble.
And if Taco Bell’s app is any indication, customers will appreciate ordering off a vegetarian menu, Matthews says, instead of asking employees to make multiple changes—a process that can be uncomfortable when fellow customers are waiting behind, checking their watches.