Case Detail

Case Summary

Taco Bell: The Breakfast Opportunity

Case Number: 5-414-757, Year Published: 2015

HBS Number: KEL917

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Authors: Timothy Calkins; Blair Darrell

Key Concepts

Branding, General Management, Growth Strategy, Innovation, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Strategic Planning


In 2013 Taco Bell, a large U.S. fast food chain, was looking for ways to grow. One of the opportunities the company was considering was adding a line of breakfast foods, something the brand had tried—unsuccessfully—before.

There were clear reasons to proceed with the launch, as breakfast offered a completely new meal occasion with tremendous potential. However, there were also notable concerns when it came to operational issues and consumer behavior. Opening for breakfast would increase costs, and getting people to change their morning routine would be difficult. Should Taco Bell risk adding a breakfast menu, or not?

This case gives students an opportunity to debate growth and new product opportunities.

Learning Objectives

After reading and analyzing the case, students will be able to: articulate the need for a clear growth strategy; appreciate the power of need-state analysis to identify opportunities; analyze the risks and benefits of new growth opportunities; and use stakeholder analysis to evaluate an idea.

Number of Pages: 9

Extended Case Information

Teaching Areas: Marketing

Teaching Note Available: Yes

Geographic: United States

Industry: Fast Food

Organization Name: Taco Bell

Organization Size: Large

Decision Maker Gender: Male

Year of Case: 2013