Taco Bell Hopes to Join Fast-Food Chicken Wars in 2021

First, it was Popeyes. In late 2019, the Miami-based fast-food joint ignited the Chicken Sandwich [...]

First, it was Popeyes. In late 2019, the Miami-based fast-food joint ignited the Chicken Sandwich Wars, a battle between fast-food restaurants to see who could concoct the best poultry sandwich. The fabled wars became so worrisome for some, it even forced KFC to redo its flagship sandwich. Now, nearly two years later, the war still rages on — and it appears it might have an unsuspecting contestant in the coming months.

In a new sit-down with Business Insider, Taco Bell's chief innovation officer Liz Matthews says the beloved taco joint is also looking to get into the game of fast-food chicken. Though she stopped short of confirming fans would soon be able to get a Taco Bell Chicken Sandwich, she did say the chicken-based dish is going to upset the status quo.

"I love watching the competitors," Matthews told the website. "I think a lot of players out there are doing a great job, but what I will say is that we will interrupt that with what we're going to do on chicken."

The chain has played with some chicken items in the past, like the Naked Chicken Chalupa or the Shredded Chicken Quesadilla. This new item, however, would seem to be a much larger item for the menu.

Taco Bell is no stranger to giving fans what they want, as evidenced by the company's reintroduction of Nacho Fries just months after they were originally pulled from menus in the name of efficiency.

"The return of our beloved potatoes is just the first step in showing our fans the strong continued commitment to vegetarian we are making this year," Matthews said in a press release announcing the return. "We have long been a leader in the vegetarian space, but this year, we have more meatless options in store that vegetarians, veggie-curious and even meat-eaters will love."

"Last year we had to shift entirely to drive-thru, which created longer lines for our customers and way more demand for our team members," Taco Bell CEO Mark King says in the video. "So in order to create a better experience for both you and our teams, we had to simplify our menu, and unfortunately, removing potatoes was part of that. But it's a new year with new possibilities. And you know what? We're bringing them back! As of March 11th, potatoes are officially back at Taco Bell. Give us a minute to get them back to most restaurants, but know that we're working hard to make things right."

Cover photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images