Breakfast at Taco Bell has been saved — and the chain has Pete Davidson to thank.
Sales of Taco Bell’s breakfast burritos and egg-stuffed quesadillas jumped 9% in the fourth quarter of last year, executives at its parent company Yum Brands said in an earnings call Wednesday, attributing the growth to the comedian’s appearance in its ads. Overall, that helped bolster Taco Bell’s US sales, which jumped 14%, beating analyst expectations.
In October, Taco Bell hired the former “Saturday Night Live” star to spearhead a new ad campaign for its breakfast menu. The cheeky ads show Davidson apologizing for the chain’s past breakfast creations, like the Naked Egg Taco, and told customers it would just stick to the basics.
“We honestly over-innovated in breakfast,” Sean Tresvant, Taco Bell’s chief brand officer, told CNN last year. “When you look at today’s consumer and the [fast-food] breakfast business, it’s about familiarity and it’s about comfort.”
Breakfast is becoming more of a bright spot for Taco Bell since it was brought back in 2021 following a brief pandemic-induced pause. Taco Bell’s offerings have long been overshadowed by its more established competitors, notably McDonald’s
(MCD). Breakfast makes up about 6% of Taco Bell’s sales, the chain has previously said, compared to about 25% of McDonald’s
Bolstering breakfast is a smart business decision: A recent report from research firm NPD Group revealed that business for mornings has remained steady in the second quarter of 2022, while other parts of day (including lunch and dinner) declined in the midst of rising menu prices.
Yum Brands CEO David Gibbs said the chain is making “encouraging progress” with breakfast, suggesting that it intends to stick with it. He also said that the chain sold 45 million Mexican Pizzas last year, an “impressive number considering they were only available for four months of the year.”