Taco Bell Is Coming for McDonald’s—Starting With a Big Menu Change

Taco Bell, the well-known fast-food chain, is making a significant menu change in a strategic move to compete more directly with McDonald’s, especially during lunch hours. The core of this strategy revolves around the potential permanent addition of fries to their menu.

Taco Bell’s Strategic Shift with Fries

1. Competing with McDonald’s in Key Dayparts

Taco Bell CEO Mark King highlighted the company’s intention to strengthen its position in the fast-food market by focusing on expanding its lunch and breakfast offerings. This decision comes after observing that Taco Bell’s performance against McDonald’s is even during dinner and late-night hours but lags significantly during breakfast and lunch.

King noted the potential for significant growth in these two dayparts, indicating a strategic shift to compete more robustly in these crucial time slots​​.

2. The Role of Fries in the Strategy

The introduction of fries, which have been a periodic, limited-time offering since their debut in 2018, is a central part of this new strategy. King’s rationale is simple: people want fries with their lunch. By adding fries permanently to the menu, Taco Bell aims to dramatically increase its lunch business.

This move could help the chain attract customers from its rivals, especially during a time when restaurant traffic is generally declining​​.

3. Previous Successes and Menu Innovations

Taco Bell’s previous successes in menu innovation, like the return of the Mexican Pizza after a two-year hiatus, which led to the sale of 20 million units and increased loyalty membership, underscores the potential impact of introducing fries permanently.

The chain has experimented with various fries offerings in the past, including nacho fries topped with steak and ranch sauce and seven-layer nacho fries loaded with beef, black beans, guacamole, and more​​.


Taco Bell’s decision to potentially add fries permanently to its menu is a calculated attempt to strengthen its competitive position against McDonald’s. By focusing on expanding its menu options in key dayparts like lunch and breakfast, Taco Bell is aiming to attract more customers and enhance its market share.

This shift, informed by customer preferences and successful past menu innovations, demonstrates the dynamic nature of the fast-food industry and the ongoing efforts by chains to adapt and thrive in a competitive landscape.

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