As one of Taco Bell's largest-ever menu overhaul nears, the chain is already starting to roll out test items at select locations across the country. One of the first snacks introduced is one some Taco Bell-goers might not expect — the testing of Crispy Chicken Wings. Early Friday morning, video of someone eating what appears to be breaded, deep-fried wings complete with Taco Bell's iconic hot sauce started to circulate online. ComicBook.com has confirmed with the fast-food joint that the wings are, in fact, something they're officially testing in select markets.
"We're always innovating and listening to our fans, and chicken is just one category that we're excited to explore further and put our Taco Bell spin on," a company spokesperson tells us.
Last month, the restaurant made a splash when it revealed it was removing upwards of a dozen items — including several fan favorites — in an effort to increase efficiency across all locations. Items being removed starting August 13th include the Grilled Steak Soft Taco, 7-Layer Burrito, Quesarito, Nachos Supreme, Beefy Fritos Burrito, Spicy Tostada, Triple Layer Nachos, Spicy Potato Soft Taco, Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes, Loaded Grillers, Chips & Dip, and the Mini Skillet Bowl. The Quesarito is technically still available, you just have to order it ahead of time.
In a recent sit-down with Forbes, Taco Bell vice president of Product Development Heather Mottershaw calls the menu reduction the first phase of a structure "menu evolution" that will see more culinary innovations come to the restaurant in the coming months, especially as it navigates an ongoing pandemic.
"We need to make sure right now that we are giving consumers what they want and that they're getting it through the drive-thru. In order to do that, slimming down and streamlining operations really enables a quicker, speedier experience for consumers," Mottershaw told the magazine. "But this is phase one. What this also does is, when the time's right and consumers are ready, it allows us to build out new options and new innovations."
In the same chat, Mottershaw revealed another upcoming test consist of Crispy Taco Melts, a fried white corn shell with nacho cheese and either beef or black beans.
"Overnight in March, we lost access to the nerve center of the food innovation and how we develop," she added. "We quickly had to pivot and figure out how to keep innovating and getting that important consumer response. That's been critical. We moved a lot of work virtually and it's been surprisingly wonderful and refreshing because we now have such agility and focus and we're actually getting richer, deeper insights, which is leading us to better innovation."
Cover photo by Yichuan Cao/NurPhoto via Getty Images