Back in November 2020, Taco Bell did a bit of house cleaning, removing a few items from their menu. The restaurant chain said this is to make room for things they think people will like more. Mexican pizza was one of the items that didn’t make the list.
“We are constantly evaluating ways to provide a more efficient restaurant experience and have already begun to see progress in streamlining our menu,” Mike Grams, president of Taco Bell, explained at the time. “This evolution of our menu really paves the way for fresh new ideas. Creativity and innovation in our kitchen hasn’t slowed down one bit, and we’re looking forward to seeing our new fan favorites.”
However, sometimes people are not looking for “fresh new ideas”. Sometimes late at night, when they were hungry, they just wanted to get in the car and buy some Mexican pizza.
It soon became clear that the company may have underestimated how much people love Mexican pizza. An online petition trying to convince the company to keep the popular product has garnered more than 171,000 signatures.
Have you ever tried Mexican pizza? That’s a lot of people trying to keep the fast food item. But who can explain why the heart loves what it does?
At some point, Taco Bell seems to have realized that sometimes the best thing you can do is give people what they want. Eighteen months later, Mexican pizza is back. Well, sort of.
In addition to returning to the menu, the musical “Mexican Pizza” was planned on Tik Tok. I really have no idea what that even means, but it’s clear that Taco Bell wanted to make a big deal out of bringing back everyone’s favorite microwave tortilla.
There was only one problem: many customers noticed that the new version was not quite the same as the old one. It looked almost the same, but there is definitely a difference in taste. Do you know what happens when you tell people they get what they love only to have it fall short of their expectations? This is not good.
In an announcement back in April, Taco Bell mentioned the change:
“Fan pleas are not all it takes to get Mexican pizza back on the menu,” Taco Bell said last month when announcing the return. “The mastermind behind the Taco Bell Test Kitchen worked to streamline operations and ingredient sourcing.”
I understand that fast food restaurants are all about optimizing just about everything, but if you’re going to bring back a fan favorite dish, don’t mess with it. Taco Bell claims the recipe hasn’t changed, but Mexican pizza fans disagree. As bad as that is, it turns out there’s an even bigger problem, which is that it’s almost impossible to buy a Mexican pizza.
In a Facebook post, a Taco Bell employee shared, “Everyone was so excited about Mexican pizza, Taco Bell didn’t estimate pizza sales, and all the warehouses in the country don’t have pizza products.” The same employee’s Facebook post says that Taco Bell is expected to end next week.
I mean, 171,000 people took the time to go online and write a petition. Taco Bell made a musical for TikTok. The idea that they went through all these problems without foreseeing that people would actually want to buy them is a little shortsighted.
More importantly, if you decide to bring back one of your customer’s favorite products, you should probably do so, not some variation of it. And you probably shouldn’t do this until you’re confident enough that you have the ingredients to sell them to customers who want to buy them.
I think if you were to ask people who love Mexican pizza what’s worse – taking your favorite item off the menu or bringing it back but you still can’t buy it – I’m pretty sure the latter would win by a landslide. This is because the worst thing you can do is make a promise that you cannot keep.
You see, promises create expectations, and expectations are everything. The only thing worse than disappointing your customers is saying you’re going to make amends and then you’re not.
Apparently Taco Bell made the mistake of removing Mexican pizza from the menu. Unfortunately, he made an even bigger mistake when he returned it.