The Infamous Food That Saved Taco Bell's Finances From Inflation

All restaurants, national chains or locally-owned, experienced financial strain during the pandemic. Yum Brands, which is composed of fast food giants KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and The Habit Burger Grill saw a 30% drop in "same-store sales" from late March well into April 2020 (via Nation's Restaurant News). Not only were the stores that were open losing money, but the brand closed over 11,000 stores at the height of the pandemic. Late-night food and breakfast demand was down, which was a huge portion of sales for Taco Bell.

Despite these setbacks, Taco Bell emerged in 2021 as the only restaurant in the Yum Brands portfolio to achieve positive sales growth (via Nation's Restaurant News). Just when the fast food restaurant nearly dug itself out of the COVID hole, in walks historic levels of inflation in 2022. According to, the CEO of Yum Brands admitted that raising the fast food restaurants' prices is causing the chains to lose low-income consumers, but the company is attempting to counter this by creating hype around new products. The results of creating buzz about the return of one Taco Bell menu item speak for themselves.

All the more reason to celebrate the return of the Mexican Pizza

When Taco Bell took Mexican pizza off of the menu in 2020, there was mass hysteria on the internet and the chain's CEO Mark King received a fair share of hate mail (via Fortune). Still in recovery from the pandemic, the chain decided to fulfill the wishes of the customers and bring back this beloved menu item for six months. Instead, the supplies for the Mexican pizza ran out in a little over a month because it was seven times more popular than it ever was before. One particularly passionate fan of the chain's take on pizza ordered 180 of them all at once (via NY Post).

There is no shortage of love for Mexican pizza, and it is reflected in the chain's bottom line. The late-night eatery was once again the best performing restaurant in the Yum Brands portfolio with 8% same-store sales growth in Q2 2022, which is at least partially credited to the return of Mexican pizza (via Nation's Restaurant News). The brand also saw a 10% boost in members of its loyalty program because they had first dibs on this coveted menu item. As a result, Taco Bell's CEO announced the best news about the Mexican pizza: it will become a permanent menu item starting in mid-September (per Fortune).