Why Taco Bell Will Stop Selling Its Wings

Last Thursday, the chain rolled out a surprising new item for a seven-day stint that raised excitement and made its hungry customers salivate. The $5.99 price gets you five bone-in wings coated in a queso seasoning and served with a spicy ranch dipping sauce.

Like many fast food promotions, Wings was always intended to be a limited time offer. Industry chains constantly tweak their menus with exclusive and oddball products that garner excitement and social media attention. These special offerings are one way to reduce the noise.

According to Alexander Chernav, professor of marketing at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, limited-time items are an important marketing tool for the food industry to attract foot traffic and interest.

“When you have these special products that have been around for a short period of time, it gives people a reason to come to the store,” Chernav previously told CNN Business.

These items offer consumers some variety — important for fast food, as it is a notoriously thin-margin business with low customer loyalty. Introducing something new gives people a reason to keep coming back.

“You need consistency because that’s the brand mantra,” Chernav said. “But no matter how much you like something, eating something different adds to the enjoyment of what you previously consumed.”

There is also a fundamental principle of supply and demand economics behind limited-time releases: Scarcity can build hype. “It’s a way to create excitement for the menu,” former Morningstar consumer strategist RJ Hottovi previously told CNN Business.

Also, the limited time items can help us experiment with a new food before launching nationwide. Chipotle ,CMG, This is usually accompanied by an exercise called the “stage-gate process”.
That’s what Chipotle did with its smoked brisket meat before taking it nationwide last September, a process it has also used for plant-based chorizo, cooked cauliflower, carne asada and its popular quesadilla.

— CNN Business’ Daniel Wiener-Bronner contributed to this report.

–An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed an item on the company’s list of food items offered nationwide last year. this was it Smoked Brisket Meat.


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