Taco Bell CEO: If Chipotle Is BMW, We're Hyundai

Curiously Australian Taco Bell CEO Greg Creed has no delusions about the product his company sells. Not that he thinks it’s bad food, but that that, well… you often get what you pay for when you buy an $.89 taco. And Creed doesn’t really worry about competing with Chipotle.

“That’s like saying Hyundai competes with BMW,” Creed explains to QSR Magazine about comparing Taco Bell with the higher-priced Chipotle. “If you take the Hyundai analogy, they’ve got the Genesis, which I understand is a world-class car and every bit as good as a 5 Series. I think with our quality value and some of the work we’re doing on our menu, I do believe we can offer that sort of quality [as Chipotle]… But I’m not going to pretend that we’re going to turn the brand into BMW — I don’t want to turn the brand into BMW. Hyundai sells a whole lot more cars than BMW does.”

Meanwhile, Taco Bell is taking some cues from higher-end fast-casual eateries with plans to upgrade its restaurants with new furniture, free WiFi, and more power outlets, all in the hope of enticing diners to stick around and maybe get a second chalupa while they update their Facebook page.

Another change at TB is sodium reduction. Creed says that by the end of 2011, the company will have reduced sodium content by 33% across the entire menu. “Sodium is not like trans fat,” he tells QSR. “you can’t rip all the sodium out like you could change from one oil to another. You’ve really got to wean the customers off some of these tastes and flavors.”

Bell on the Ball [QSR Magazine]