Sunday, January 29, 2012

Breakfast Outside the Bun

Taco Bell has wisely been calling for fast food eaters to "think outside the bun" for a long time. However, Taco Bell needs to listen to their own advice. The company is now adding breakfast to their menu, just as many of their bun-based brethren have been doing lately.

According to their Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer Brian Niccol, "right now we're not getting our fair share of that [breakfast crowd]. We want to get our fair share and then some."

As Burger King and Subway have also shifted focus to early eaters, such a decision obviously demonstrates that Taco Bell has been keeping one eye on the bun. It's a very curious move from the brand that pioneered marketing to a completely different A.M. eater. Taco Bell was the first to embrace them and eloquently spoke to their urge to eat with the term "Fourth Meal." Now they're losing their focus on this customer in favor of the eggs and bacon crowd.

In marketing, a brand should never give up an idea owned in the mind and the fourth meal has long belonged to Taco Bell. By chasing breakfast, that's exactly Taco Bell is doing.

Adding breakfast to an already loaded menu is even more questionable marketing at Taco Bell. Rather than chasing the bun, Taco Bell should consider innovating by building on the fourth meal idea that it owns. Innovations like improving speed and accuracy of drive-thru, having more consistent store hours and focusing on cheap menu items should keep Taco Bell on course.

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