Can Taco Bell's Cantina Power Menu Power Sales? - Analyst Blog


Taco Bell Corp., a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc. , ( YUM ) seeks to tap in on the demand for high-protein diet in the U.S. with its new menu to be launched on Jul 17. Known as the Cantina Power Menu, the launch is part of Taco Bell's Power Platform and intends to target health-conscious consumers who prefer lower carbohydrates.

The menu, available in burritos and bowls, will have twice the chicken or steak, more than 20 grams protein and less than 500 calories each. The Cantina Power Burrito is priced at $3.79 for chicken and $3.99 for steak and the Cantina Power Bowl costs $4.99 for chicken and $5.19 for steak. Additionally, the vegan variety will be priced at $3.79 for burrito and $4.99 for bowl.

Taco Bell launched the first Cantina Menu in 2012 which included fresh guacamole and fire roasted corn salsa. Before long, the chain realized customers' preference for a protein-rich diet. The latest Cantina Power Menu, thus, offers more meat without compromising on the fresh ingredients.

Moreover, Taco Bell is also testing the Power Breakfast Menu under its Power Platform. Power Breakfast includes a Steak Bowl, Steak Burrito and Greek yogurt in collaboration with Three Happy Cows - a boutique yogurt supplier. The Power Breakfast Steak Bowl and Burrito will be priced at $2.79 each. Beginning Aug 4, Taco Bell will test Power Greek Yogurt (priced at $2.49), including Vanilla Bean Greek Yogurt, at its Omaha outlets.

Taco Bell's menu innovation comes at a time when demand for protein-rich foods is growing, especially in the United States. Protein supplement sales, for instance, have grown more than 40% since 2008, and are expected to grow another 40% by 2018, according to market research company Euromonitor.

In fact, Yum! has merged its Yum! Restaurants International and the U.S. geographic divisions to create three separate brand-based divisions - KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell - effective first-quarter 2014, primarily to concentrate on growing these brands as separate entities.

On Mar 27, Taco Bell launched its breakfast platform, which we believe will drive sales in the upcoming quarters. Yum! is continuously focusing on menu innovation in Taco Bell to differentiate the brand amid intense competition.

Yum! currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). Better-ranked stocks in the same sector include Brinker International, Inc. ( EAT ), Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc. ( RRGB ) and BJ's Restaurants, Inc. ( BJRI ). All these stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

This article appears in: Investing , Business , Stocks

Referenced Stocks: YUM , BJRI , EAT , RRGB

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