Taco Bell has recently been hyping up the triumphant return of the Cheesy Gordita Crunch to its menu boards, but here’s the jig:
The Cheesy Gordita Crunch never really went anywhere.
It may have been off the menu proper, but since all the materials to make a Cheesy Gordita Crunch were present in extant menu items, the gordita-taco hybrid remained in the Taco Bell computer system and could be prepared to order.
The crunchy taco shell, ground beef, lettuce and cheese, of course, are all staples of the Taco Bell menu. The pillowy Gordita flatbread is used for the normal gorditas, the melted three-cheese mix is in the MexiMelt, and the zesty pepper jack sauce is familiar from the Baja line of products.
In fact, as long as an extinct Taco Bell menu item doesn’t include any specialty ingredients — a black taco shell or the spicy Caesar sauce from the long-defunct Chicken Caesar Grilled Stuft Burrito, for example — it’s a safe bet they’ll still make it for you at your local Taco Bell.
Just a secret of the pros.
Why Taco Bell decided to remove the Cheesy Gordita Crunch from the menu in the first place is beyond me. It was an important step between the Double Decker Taco and the Crunchwrap Supreme in the evolution of crunchy Taco Bell products that could also be eaten on the go, as necessitated by the near-impossibility of cleanly eating a standard crunchy taco while driving.
Its return to the menu board should be celebrated, of course, but it must not be the final step in Taco Bell’s pioneering work making new things out of a bunch of other things they already have laying around.
Here’s my idea. Listen up, Taco Bell:
Taco Bell’s fabulous website should create a flash-driven interface wherein users can combine existing Taco Bell ingredients into new and delicious Taco Bell menu items.
It will be like an electronic paper doll of pseudo-Mexican deliciousness.
For example: I might log on to TacoBell.com’s product generator and take the existing Volcano Taco and wrap it in the melted three-cheese blend and a piece of gordita flatbread.
Wham! It’s the Magma Gordita Crunch.
Or maybe I want a chicken Chalupa, only covered in Lava sauce and with some crispy red strips — the ones that debuted in that same Chicken Caesar Grilled Stuft Burrito.
Kapow! The Crispy Caliente Chicken Chalupa.
Lest you think this is just my way of getting more Lava Sauce on stuff, I believe the interface would best be used as part of an interactive contest to drive awareness of Taco Bell’s website.
It would be way, way too much to expect Taco Bell to just reproduce the whims of every capricious Taco Bell diner, not with all Taco Bell has already done for us.
But perhaps visitors to Taco Bell could vote on the most appetizing user-created suggested new menu item, and Taco Bell could reward that user with some sort of Taco Bell-themed prize, plus reward website visitors by creating and selling that popular suggested Taco Bell product.
I fail to see how this could possibly go wrong. All it would really take is Taco Bell tacitly admitting that it gets most of its new products by combining elements of its old ones. That’s just not really a big secret at this point.