In response to the coronavirus pandemic, many restaurant chains have announced slimmed-down menus to help streamline service with fewer workers. Now, Taco Bell is the latest eatery to confirm that it will be dropping several items next month.
Even before the chain made the announcement official, fans of Quesaritos and Chalupas began freaking out.
About a week ago, a Reddit post sparked a rumor that Taco Bell was about to change its menu in a big way. A member who claimed to be an employee of the chain (and has a “verified employee” mark next to their username), wrote that “all potato items,” as well as Quesaritos, Loaded Grillers, Triple Layer Nachos, Nachos Supreme, Beefy Frito Burritos and many more items were being dropped from the menu mid-August.
Just a few days later, the same Reddit user posted again, adding that Quesaritos may be sticking around — but only as mobile order exclusives. The supposed employee added that other items, including steak tacos and chips with guacamole, were also on the chopping block.
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Taco Bell fans saw the message as the latest in a stream of terrible events in 2020 and, even without the chain confirming anything, began lamenting the loss of some of their favorite foods.
Some people really did not take the news well.
Others simply said they think it's a bad business move for the chain.
Vegetarians seemed especially distraught by the thought of Taco Bell axing menu items without meat, like guac and chips or potato dishes.
“As a vegetarian, the Bell was one of the only fast food places I could trust that’d have a ton of options readily available … If they’re totally ditching all potato items, I have no reason to go,” a Reddit comment read.
Though the chain remained silent for several days after the Reddit post first surfaced, on Friday, a representative for the chain confirmed that at least four items are being removed from the menu in August.
"Taco Bell is simplifying its menu to streamline operations and make ordering faster, safer and easier than ever for customers and team members, especially while the pandemic has shifted priorities to the drive-thru and digital," the rep told TODAY via email.
These new changes will appear on menus nationwide on August 13.
So what's actually leaving the menu?
The representative confirmed that the 7-Layer Burrito, Potato Bites and Loaded Grillers were among those items retiring. However, some new items will be appearing, including a beef burrito for just $1, plus the Grande Nachos Box (which is $5) is returning for a limited time. The Quesarito will officially be removed from in-store menus, but in a sneaky twist, Taco Bell fans will still be able to order the signature quesadilla-burrito mashup via the chain's app.
"These changes also allow Taco Bell’s Food Innovation Team to continue testing and developing the most craveable and innovative items," the statement from the rep continued.
As for vegetarians, the chain tried to assure them that there are still plenty of options. "We know some vegetarian go-to items might be gone, but Taco Bell’s menu remains highly customizable," reads a post on the chain's website that reminds customers it's still possible to swap out any protein for beans on most menu items.
Taco Bell isn’t the first big chain to cut back during the pandemic. IHOP recently truncated its menu and McDonald’s has axed several items, like salads, and stopped serving all-day breakfast at most locations.