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Adios Taco Bell Tostada. … I Fear This Is the End

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I once ate a Taco Bell beefy tostada while my left front tooth was dying. The tooth was loose and dangling, the result of hitting it on my friend’s head during a game of no-helmets and no-pads tackle football. (Full disclosure: We weren’t as tough as we were stupid.)

Dang right it hurt. But the pain did­n’t seem so bad when I was biting into that beefy tostada, which was my favorite item on the Taco Bell menu in the early 1980s. Any pain was worth every bite. It was that good to me.

But several years ago, I noticed the beefy tostada — one of the chain’s original items — was gone from the Taco Bell menu. I can’t remember the exact date, but I do remember feeling dismayed. And I thought of my tooth, which had long since been repaired.

But about six years ago, Taco Bell brought back a vegetarian offering of the tostada, calling it the spicy tostada because it was topped with chipotle sauce. It was a fantastic offering and cost only a buck. It became my go-to item.

But late last week, Taco Bell, in a sweeping announcement about menu changes, announced the spicy tostada was being jettisoned. And now I’m wondering if a tostada will ever come back in any form.

It looks as if Taco Bell is following the leads of other fast-food brands in simplifying its menu, which is probably a good thing for the Irvine, Calif.-based chain. Taco Bell always seems to have the longest lines at the drive-thru window of any quick service restaurant (QSR). A reason for that is because it just has too big of a menu. You drive up to that, and you don’t know where to start looking if you’re not sure what to order.

And these days, with the coronavirus increasing the demand for drive-thru service, no QSR chain can afford to move slowly. So, as Taco Bell has come to realize: “We’re clearing space on our menu to create a more efficient Taco Bell experience. We want to ensure an easy and fast ordering experience for our guests and team members, while simultaneously opening up opportunities for even more innovation.”

In addition to the tostada, Taco Bell is getting rid of the following:

• Grilled Steak Soft Taco

• 7-Layer Burrito

• Nachos Supreme

• Beefy Fritos Burrito

• Triple Layer Nachos

• Spicy Potato Soft Taco

• Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes

• Loaded Grillers (Cheesy Potato, Beefy Nacho)

• Chips & Dips

• Mini Skillet Bowl

But Taco Bell is also making a few additions, beginning with a new $1 beef burrito, which becomes a permanent addition to its Cravings Value Menu. And while the quesarito is being removed from the menu, customers can still order it.

Taco Bell is also returning a $5 Grande Nachos Box for a limited time, and it will continue to offer customized products.

But in the end, the Taco Bell menu has been greatly reduced as the the efficiency game in QSR continues. Looks like fast-food chains are figuring out that less is better.

I just wish Taco Bell could have kept the tostada around. I’d give my right front tooth for that to happen.

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