Beloved readers, I must confess that we at The Takeout grow weary. 2020 involved countless chicken sandwich wars, and 2021 will likely be no different as fast food establishments like KFC, McDonald’s, and Burger King are absolutely losing their ding dang minds in an attempt to reinvent the poultry-laden wheel. But, hark—could it be? According to Business Insider, Taco Bell has entered the chicken fray with a mysterious menu item that promises to “interrupt” the competition.
Taco Bell’s global chief food innovation officer Liz Matthews hinted at the new item in an interview with Insider. “I love watching the competitors,” Matthews said. “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.”
Mysterious, no? Potentially promising, no? Quick reminder that Taco Bell has developed a number of fried chicken options in the past, including a limited run of chicken tenders and, of course, the obscene and delicious “Naked Chicken Chalupa,” which used fried chicken as its shell. Still no word on what exactly this mystery menu item entails, but it’ll be part of a wider range of new and returning items slated to hit Taco Bell’s menu in 2021 along with the Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes and Spicy Potato Soft Taco.
From an industry perspective, it makes sense that all of these establishments are clamoring to create the Next Big Chicken Sandwich. José Cil, CEO of Popeyes, reportedly told investors that the chain’s chicken sandwich continued to be “the largest single driver of sales growth.” And although we still have no clue as to which direction Taco Bell will take, the sheer buzziness of the brand may well carry a new chicken dish straight to the winner’s circle. Kind of a fox in the henhouse situation.