Wednesday, December 9, 2009

More thinking outside the bun

The news seeping out of Yum! Brands' annual financial conference in New York suggests 2010 could be a year of hyperactive menu development for Taco Bell, the franchise company's biggest brand.

Among the changes previewed was the Mexican chain's use of two proteins that have yet to appear on its regular menu: carnitas, or Mexico's version of pulled pork, and shrimp, which is scheduled to be used in a premium ($2.79/each) taco.

Among the other products already been greenlighted, according to Janney Mongtomery Scott analyst Mark Kalinowski, are a bargain priced (89-cent) 5-Layer Burrito, and Taco Bell's first soft taco, which will feature the new carnitas.

Every year Yum holds a meeting with restaurant analysts like Kalinowski to familiarize them with the strategies of the company's chains. For the benefit of those who've been caught in a pesky time warp for the last four decades, the other brands include Pizza Hut and KFC.

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