Can Doritos Locos Tacos and hoarded dashboard packets of Fire Sauce help sort out a potentially perilous new era of U.S.-China relations? Fast food multinational Yum! Brands probably rates that low on their list of priorities, but making warehouses full of cash off of the Crunchwrap Supreme? That’ll do!
The Wall Street Journal reports that Taco Bell has plans for China. The soft opening of a Shanghai location is being viewed with optimism for the future. Executives aim to open “several more” Taco Bells in other Chinese cities. If things go well, a nationwide rollout could follow. That should give all Chinese Taco Bell patrons ample time to revisit key pieces of Bell lore, like the Chihuahua’s assorted exploits and trying not to wonder if any of the seniors in that “We Are Young” Super Bowl ad are dead now.
The new Taco Bell wave (they’ve tried in China before) represents a rich business vein provided the company meshes with their client. A tweaked menu is part of that game plan.
The menu features the brand’s favorites that have been adapted to local tastes. High quality ingredients coupled with newly developed sauces create items such as the Shrimp and Avocado Burrito unique to Taco Bell restaurants in China. The Crunchy Taco Supreme is now loaded with Taco Bell’s signature Nacho Cheese Sauce and the Volcano Chicken Burrito features spicy Sriracha sauce.
“Taco Bell is an innovative brand with a strong heritage that we believe will resonate well with Chinese millennials,” press released Micky Pant, Chief Executive Officer of Yum China. “Built around the concept of ‘Live Mas’ — literally meaning ‘Live More’ — Taco Bell encourages its customers to try things they’ve never tried before. I look forward to creating experiences that surprise and delight people as we expand the Taco Bell brand in China.”
Can a strategy of mushrooming expansion and an emphasis on Chinese consumer preferences make Taco Bell a force to be reckoned with in China? Or is that a misstep from the gooey cheese providers? Put on your finest Monopoly guy hat and speculate wildly in the comments.
Correction: The earlier version of this story stated that China would roll out 1,000 Taco Bell restaurants by 2022. This information was incorrect. The author regrets the error.