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Taco Bell Is Coming for McDonald's—Starting With a Big Menu Change

This cult classic has been on and off the menu since 2018.

French fries may not be front and center when you think about Taco Bell, but that could soon change based on a recent announcement from the chain's parent company Yum! Brands. The folks who brought us the Doritos Locos Taco and Crunchwrap Supreme are toying with the idea of making fries a full-time menu item, giving fast-food rival McDonald's a run for its money.

The chain's fries are majorly popular, to be sure, but they have only made limited-time appearances on the menu thus far. However, even through such limited availability, they have become the most popular item in Taco Bell's history—selling more than 53 million orders in the first five weeks after launch, and even beating out the Doritos Locos Tacos. In fact, we're kind of surprised the chain has waited this long to make them available 365 days of the year.

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"We're looking at bringing fries permanently to the menu," said Taco Bell's CEO Mark King, who made the announcement during a presentation for investors on Dec. 13.

Nacho Fries were first introduced back in 2018, as an an experiment on the otherwise Mexican-centric menu. These fries set themselves apart from other fast-food fries, however, in two crucial ways: they are seasoned with a special blend of spices, and they come with a unique pairing of the nacho cheese dipping sauce.

Yet Taco Bell has clearly deemed scarcity a key component to the success of its signature spuds. Other fan theories for their absence abound, including that Taco Bell restaurants don't have enough freezer space to keep the spuds around all year. Making them a permanent menu item could mean big money for the chain, who are confident that keeping fries available will add up during lunch, dinner, and fourth-meal sales times.

King also announced that beefing up Taco Bell breakfast items could also be on the horizon.

"We've been in and out of breakfast for seven years," he explained, according to Nation's Restaurant News. "It's time to commit to it. We are committed to closing both of those gaps and have big opportunities in just those two dayparts to increase business in the coming years."

He also added that the company is looking to lean into chicken, as "a large percentage of our business is beef and the Gen Z consumer wants chicken."

If their projections are accurate, this could mean tough competition for their biggest rival, McDonald's. The brand behind the Golden Arches recently released their FANual report for 2022, and it's no surprise that fries were the most-ordered menu item from the past year.

While the two fast-food restaurants sell very different items, a bigger investment from Taco Bell in terms of fries, breakfast, and chicken would be a huge linking factor that could change the game for good.

King did not disclose when these new changes would come into effect, so Nacho Fries fans will have to wait with baited Fire Sauce breath. Until then, they certainly have Más to Live for.

Katka Lapelosova
Kat is a born and raised New Yorker exploring the world as she writes, eats, and everything in between. Read more about Katka