Time to Grow Up: No More Toys or Kids' Meals at Taco Bell

Mechele R. Dillard's picture

Taco Bell hopes to have kids' meals eliminated by 2014.

Taco Bell is taking a giant first leap in the fast-food industry: No kids meals or toys at all U.S. restaurants.

Less than half of 1% of all Taco Bell sales are kids meals, the company indicates. So, they are instead going to focus on advertising the brand to Millennial customers.

"The future of Taco Bell is not about kids meals," says Taco Bell CEO Greg Creed, USA Today reported. "This is about positioning the brand for Millennials."

Kids’ meals can be a huge draw for kids, as can the toys—more so than the food at times. Overall, more than 1.2 billion kids meals are sold each year, the Federal Trade Commission has indicated. But, many restaurants are finding that the pressure is increasing for them to produce healthier food for kids, as well as cease luring them with toys. In 2011, regional chain Jack-in-the-Box eliminated toys from kids meals, although they did not go as far as Taco Bell and cut out the offering altogether.

Eliminating toys may decrease the draw to Taco Bell for kids, but it may be worth it. The Federal Trade Commission has indicated that fast food chains spend as much as $580 million each year just marketing to kids under the age of 12, with $340 million being spent on the licensing and production of toys. Still, money is not what is driving the move, Taco Bell insists. Rather, it is their push to market to the Millennial generation and an attempt to be known as “an edgy, twentysomething brand.”

"It's fairly inconsistent for an edgy, twentysomething brand to offer kids meals," Creed said.

Instead, kids will simply have to order off the a la carte menu like everyone else, or get one of several combo platters, which concerns many nutritionists, who fear that kids will suffer from the increase in calories placed before them.

Taco Bell plans to have kids meals and toys eliminated from the menu fairly soon—approximately January 2014.

Image: Wikimedia Commons