Taco Bell giveth and Taco Bell taketh away.
Just as fans grew to love the chain’s Quesaritos, Triple Layer Nachos or the Beefy Frito Burritos, they roll up to the drive-thru to find those menu items have been discontinued. Well, for fans of two dearly departed menu items, all that stood between them and their extinct favorite was a quick trip to the taco polls and now, there's a cheesy victor returning to Taco Bell's menus.
On Sept. 27, Taco Bell announced it would be bringing back a discontinued item but with a twist. For the first time in the brand’s history, the chain would be putting the final decision to a vote amongst the people as to what would ultimately be added to the menu once again.
So were the Fiery Doritos Locos Tacos up for a return vote? Sorry, no, that’s still gone, along with the Cool Ranch Taco, Double Tostada, Power Menu Burrito and so many other innovations.
To participate in the Taco Bell smackdown, fans needed to download the Taco Bell app and be part of its rewards program. There, lovers of the fast food chain cast their votes from late September until Oct. 6, when the votes were tallied to see which retired menu item would make a comeback for a limited time.
“On the heels of the love and passion we saw for Mexican Pizza, we wanted to continue elevating the voices of our most loyal fans by giving them exclusive access to a uniquely digital experience that fosters brand love,” said Sean Tresvant, chief brand officer for Taco Bell in a press release. “Nobody gets Taco Bell more than our community so we’re thrilled to empower them with this in-app voting experience that allows them to have a direct impact on our menu."
The candidates for this historic vote were the Double Decker Taco versus the Enchirito. For those who are unfamiliar with these items, the Double Decker taco, introduced in 1995 for a limited time, was a hybrid taco made up of a soft flour tortilla layered with beans then wrapped around a traditional crunchy taco shell filled with seasoned beef, lettuce and cheddar cheese.
The item was added as a permanent item in 2006 before being discontinued in 2019.
The Enchirito, introduced all the way back in 1970, was made up of a soft flour tortilla, loaded with seasoned beef, beans and diced onions all rolled up and doused with Taco Bell's red sauce before being topped with melted cheddar.
This item was discontinued in 2013, the same year “I Knew You Were Trouble” and “Diamonds” were topping the Billboard charts.
Taco Bell announces a winner
On Oct. 7, Taco Bell announced the fan-favorite victor was the Enchirito. The chain said the race started off too close to call, but the Enchirito eventually beat out its competitor, winning 62% of votes.
Taco Bell Rewards members showed out in droves to the polls, making over 760,000 votes from the time polls opened on Sept. 27 to when they closed on Oct. 6. That's a whole lot of taco lovers.
Beginning Nov. 17 through Nov. 30, Taco Bell enthusiasts can chow down on the throwback winner, the Enchirito, by ordering digitally through Taco Bell’s app, delivery, online or via in-store kiosks at locations nationwide.
Taco Bell said the pair of items rank amongst its most highly-requested products outside of the Mexican Pizza, a product that inspired pop star passion and a 70,000-strong petition for its return. It finally came back in mid-September.
The Enchirito was actually the recipient of its own petition three years ago, as did the Double Decker Taco, but both received markedly less votes. This time, however, legions of fans of the Bell showed up to Live Más and vote to bring back The Enchirito.
Much like the return of Taco Bell's Breakfast Burritos and Nacho Fries in years past, the winner of this Taco Bell smackdown will only be back for a limited time … so just as patrons showed up to the voting booth, may they continue to show up at Taco Bell's drive-thru window.