In September 2021, Taco Bell, a renowned fast-food chain known for its Mexican-inspired menu, raised eyebrows and garnered attention when they decided to step into the “Chicken Sandwich Wars” with their unique offering, the Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco. However, just as quickly as it appeared, it seemed to vanish, leaving consumers wondering, “What happened to Taco Bell Chicken Sandwich?”
The Taco Bell Chicken Sandwich, officially known as the Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco, was discontinued in October 2021 because it was a limited-time menu offering. However, Taco Bell reintroduced a similar product in July 2023, called the Crispy Chicken Taco, with some slight changes in its composition.
The Birth of the Taco Bell Chicken Sandwich
The Taco Bell Chicken Sandwich, officially known as the Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco, was first tested in Nashville, Tennessee, and Charlotte, North Carolina, starting March 11, 2021. The initial response was positive, leading to a nationwide rollout on September 2, 2021.
The Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco was no ordinary sandwich. It was a unique hybrid of a sandwich and a taco, featuring all-white meat crispy chicken marinated in jalapeño buttermilk, seasoned with bold Mexican spices, and rolled in a crunchy tortilla chip coating. This flavorful chicken was then served in a soft, warm flatbread shaped like a taco and topped off with a creamy chipotle sauce. A spicy version with jalapeños was also available.
Why Did Taco Bell Introduce a Chicken Sandwich?
The introduction of the Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco was a strategic move by Taco Bell to capitalize on the growing demand for chicken sandwiches and compete with other fast-food chains like McDonald’s, Burger King, and Chick-fil-A. The decision to enter the chicken sandwich market aimed to bring a unique and innovative product that combines elements of both a sandwich and a taco to the table.
The Reception of the Taco Bell Chicken Sandwich
Upon its release, the Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco was generally well received by the public. Reviewers praised its juicy chicken, crispy coating, and relatively petite size, making it a four- or five-bite snack. The playful marketing strategy of engaging college debate teams to tackle the question of whether the new menu item is primarily a taco or a sandwich also added to the overall positive reception.
The Discontinuation of the Taco Bell Chicken Sandwich
Despite its positive reception, the Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco was discontinued in October 2021, primarily due to it being a limited-time menu offering. The discontinuation was met with disappointment, as evidenced by a Reddit thread titled “Did they discontinue the Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco” that gained traction after a customer reported the item’s absence from the Taco Bell app.
The Reintroduction of a Similar Product
In July 2023, Taco Bell made a significant move by reintroducing a similar product to the chicken sandwich, now known as the Crispy Chicken Taco. The new version replaces the original taco-shaped puffy bread with a soft tortilla, and it’s available for a limited time in two varieties: Creamy Chipotle and Avocado Ranch.
Comparing Taco Bell’s Chicken Sandwich to Other Fast-Food Chains
While Taco Bell remains a popular fast-food brand, its chicken sandwich doesn’t appear to have gained the same level of popularity and sales as those from Chick-fil-A, Popeyes, McDonald’s, and Wendy’s. As of December 2020, Chick-fil-A led the market share with 45%, followed by Popeyes (17%), McDonald’s (16%), and Wendy’s (7%). In terms of overall sales, Taco Bell ranked fourth among fast-food brands in the US, with $12.6 billion in systemwide sales in 2021.
While the Taco Bell Chicken Sandwich may have been a limited-time offering, its impact on the fast-food industry, and the joy it brought to the fans, is undeniable. With the reintroduction of the Crispy Chicken Taco, Taco Bell continues to innovate and cater to the tastes of its customers. Whether or not we’ll see the return of the original Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: Taco Bell isn’t afraid to mix things up in the fast-food industry.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the price of the new Crispy Chicken Taco?
The price of the new Crispy Chicken Taco varies by location but generally, it’s priced at around $2.49.
Is the new Crispy Chicken Taco available at all Taco Bell locations?
Yes, the new Crispy Chicken Taco is available at all participating Taco Bell locations across the United States.
Does Taco Bell have any other chicken items on its menu?
Yes, Taco Bell offers a variety of chicken items on its menu, including the Chicken Quesadilla, Shredded Chicken Burrito, and the Chicken Soft Taco.
When did Taco Bell first introduce chicken items on its menu?
Taco Bell first introduced chicken items on its menu back in the 1980s.
Is the Crispy Chicken Taco a permanent menu item or a limited-time offer?
As of now, the Crispy Chicken Taco is a limited-time offer, similar to its predecessor, the Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco.