Taco Bell is going gourmet.
The Irvine, Calif.- based fast food chain plans to roll out its new Cantina Bell menu to nearly all 5,600 locations on July 5, according to a story in Nation's Restaurant News. The menu was created by chef Lorena Garcia, who was a judge on "America's Next Great Restaurant" on NBC last year and is slated to appear on "Top Chef Masters" on Bravo, the chain said.
"Lorena worked incredibly hard as a member of our team to make this happen, starting with 26 recipes and eventually we ended up with eight," Brian Niccol, chief marketing and innovation officer, said in a statement.
Diners will be able to choose from a burrito or bowl option with chicken, steak or vegetables and ingredients that the chain has never before offered, such as whole black beans, cilantro-spiked rice, chicken in an herb-and-citrus marinade, roasted corn salsa, Hass avocado guacamole. (Hmm, sounding sort of like Chipotle Mexican Grill.)
The changes come on the heels of new menu item Doritos Tacos Locos, unveiled in March. Taco Bell got a big boost in sales from that single item, selling more than 100 million Doritos tacos in about 10 weeks, NRN reported.
But upscale won't be too upscale. The company says its expanded menu has suggested prices of less than $5. Cantina Bell even comes backed by a guarantee.
"If consumers don't love it," a company announcement says, "Taco Bell will replace it."