The kids' meal and toys option at select Taco Bell outlets across the U.S. have been dropped and the company will scratch these items from the menu at all its restaurants nationwide by January 2014, Taco Bell said in a press statement released Tuesday.
Taco Bell, owned by Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM), is the first national fast-food restaurant chain to drop the children's portion choice from the menu, the company added in the statement.
“As we continue our journey of being a better, more relevant Taco Bell, kids' meals and toys simply no longer make sense for us to put resources behind,” Greg Creed, CEO of Taco Bell, said in the statement. “What does make sense is concentrating on expanding choices that meet and exceed the diverse needs of consumers of all ages, without losing focus on what makes us great today.”
The sale of kids' meals have been on the decline for a while now, according to a Huffington Post report, and in 2012, it dropped to half of 1 percent of the company’s total gross revenue, which works out to about $35 million.
And, although Creed told the Post that the kids' meal was not loss-making, he said it took up a lot of resources that could be utilized elsewhere. According to Creed, people employed to license, buy and ship the toys that accompany the kids' meals could be reallocated to projects that could help the business grow.
Several items that are currently on the kids' meal menu, such as the Crunchy Taco, Soft Taco, Bean Burrito and Cheese Roll-up, will be available separately.
The move by Taco Bell to nix the kids' meal has been lauded by heath advocates, who have long blamed kids’ meals in various fast-food chains across the nation for childhood obesity.
“It's a constructive step forward that Taco Bell will no longer use toys to encourage kids to pester their parents to go to their restaurants," Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit organization promoting healthy eating habits, told USA Today.