Taco Bell menu targets dieters

taco bell tacos Taco Bell says you can enjoy that bean burrito or steak taco without agonizing over how to burn off the calories thanks to its new drive-thru menu targeting fast-food lovers watching their waistlines.
Taco Bell announced Tuesday that its new offerings include seven Taco Bell favorites prepared with Fiesta Salsa – a mix of diced tomatoes, white onions and cilantro – that replaces the usual cheese and sauce. The concoction contains only five calories per serving and features Fresco Crunchy Taco (150 calories); Fresco Burrito Supreme–Chicken (340 calories); Fresco Burrito Supreme–Steak (330 calories); Fresco Bean Burrito (340 calories); Fresco Soft Taco (180 calories); Fresco Grilled Steak Soft Taco (160 calories); and Fresco Ranchero Chicken Soft Taco (170 calories).

It's a smart move for Taco Bell, which does approximately 70% of its business with people eating on the go. At a time when the quick service restaurant industry is reeling from a dip in customer spending and low foot traffic, chains have to rely on creativity to keep cash registers ringing.

High unemployment, downward spiraling consumer confidence and tight credit is causing great suffering for the restaurant business. According to NPD, visits to quick service/fast-food restaurants, which represent the largest share of the industry, fell 4% in the third quarter. Taco Bell's competitors, such as McDonald's, are offering cheap breakfast options, so a diet menu could set the chain apart from its rivals.

The company plans to announce the menu options through an integrated campaign that will roll out during the first quarter of 2010.

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