People Are Turning To Taco Bell To Save Money

Taco Bell is one of the few fast food chains that keeps its menu focused on maximum value.

It's fair to say that fast food isn't cheap anymore, at least not in the way it used to be. Corporations like McDonald's have been consistently applying price hikes to the menu, and now many meals for one end up squarely in double-digit territory. That can be a bitter burger to swallow, so price-conscious fast food consumers continue to hunt for the best deals. There's still one place reliably serving up large meals under the $10 mark, though, and customers have taken notice. Leave it to Taco Bell to give the people what they want.

Cheap prices are driving customers to Taco Bell

CNN reports that Taco Bell is continuing to draw in the traffic thanks in large part to its consistently low menu prices. In a recent earnings call, Yum! Brands CEO David Gibbs said that transactions have grown between 2% and 3% for the third quarter of this year "across all income levels." That might seem like a small detail, but that means people in every income bracket appreciate the affordability of this fast food and are skipping pricier options in favor of Taco Bell.

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"I think that speaks to the way Taco Bell can play value with things like the $5 box," Gibbs said on the call. "And how also in a pressured consumer environment, we're probably benefiting a little bit from some trade down in those higher-income trade areas."

A $5 meal is a screaming deal nowadays. Taco Bell is also one of the few chains that still sells $1 items: the Cheesy Roll Up, Spicy Potato Soft Taco, and Cheesy Bean and Rice Burrito. Prices for the value items do vary by location, so you might see a $6 combo meal, or a $1.29 Cheesy Bean and Rice Burrito. Still, these prices are a rarity in the fast food landscape.

TikTok user @anna2morrow pointed out earlier this year that McDonald's $1 $2 $3 Dollar Menu, formerly known simply as the Dollar Menu, doesn't have a single item priced at $1.

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And Wendy's $4 For 4 meal, which once offered your choice of a Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger, Crispy Chicken BLT, or Double Stack, along with a four-piece chicken nugget, small fry, and a drink, has quietly diminished in value, albeit slightly: Now it can only come with a plain Jr. Cheeseburger, and if you want the other options, you'll have to upgrade to the $5 Biggie Bag, which is the same exact offering as the original 4 for $4 but with a higher price point.

Granted, Taco Bell's popular novelty items will still cost you a pretty penny. A Crunchwrap Supreme at the location near my home costs $6.59 all by itself. But the Crunchwrap can also be included in Taco Bell's online-only Build Your Own Cravings Box, which costs $6 and includes an additional classic item (tacos or one of two types of burrito), a side, and a drink.

No matter who you are or how much disposable income you have, you probably appreciate the fact that there's still a place out there charging modest prices for filling menu items—and Taco Bell is reaping the benefits of that reputation. 

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