Why Taco Bell Stops Selling Its Wings – Boston News, Weather, Sports

(CNN) — Fans of Taco Bell’s Chicken Wings only have a few hours left to get them before they disappear from menus.

Last Thursday, the chain rolled out the surprising new item for a seven-day stint that sparked excitement and left its hungry customers salivating. For the price of $5.99, you get five bone-in wings coated in a queso seasoning and served with a spicy ranch dipping sauce.

Like many fast food promotions, the wings were always meant to be a limited-time offer. The industry’s chains are constantly updating their menus with niche and eccentric products that generate excitement and attention on social media. These special offers are a way to cut through the noise.

McDonald’s is the biggest proponent of the practice, with the McRib will be sold in the fall, Filet-O-Fish and Shamrock Shakes appear on menus in February and the McFlurry range is constantly updated. And Starbucks has created a nationwide phenomenon with the annual release of its red colored cups and free seasonal menu during the holidays.

Temporary items are an important marketing tool for the food industry to generate foot traffic and interest, according to Alexander Chernev, a professor of marketing at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

“Having these exclusive products, which have only been around for a short time, gives people a reason to come to the store,” Chernev says. previously told CNN Business.

These items offer the consumer some variety – essential for fast food, as it is a notorious company with small margins and little customer loyalty. Offering something new gives people a reason to come back.

“You need consistency because that’s the brand’s mantra,” Chernev said. “But no matter how much you love something, consuming something else increases the pleasure of what you ate before.”

There is also a basic tenet of supply and demand economics behind temporary releases: scarcity can create hype. “It’s a way to create excitement for the menu,” RJ Hottovy, a former consumer strategist for Morningstar, previously told CNN Business.

Also, the temporary items can help chains experiment with a new food before launching it nationwide. Chipotle usually does this with an exercise it calls a “stage-gate process.”

That’s what Chipotle did with his smoked breast meat before being used nationwide in September last year, a process it has also used for vegetable chorizo, cauliflower rice, carne asada and its popular quesadilla.

— Danielle Wiener-Bronner of CNN Business contributed to this report.

— An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed an item in a list of foods the company offered nationwide last year.

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