SOURCE: Taco Bell

Taco Bell, Drive-Thru Diet, fast food, Christine Dougherty, America's Drive-Thru Survey, Yum Foods

January 21, 2010 10:00 ET

Taco Bell's® Drive-Thru Diet® Menu Answers Consumers' Call for Better Choices in Quick Service Restaurants

Extensive New Survey Examines Americans' Drive-Thru Beliefs and Behaviors; "Christine's" Story Inspires Others to Make Better Choices at the Drive-Thru

IRVINE, CA--(Marketwire - January 21, 2010) - Nearly 7 in 10 Americans (69 percent) think having better choices in the drive-thru at quick service restaurants would encourage them to eat better, according to the newly-released "America's Drive-Thru Survey"* commissioned by Taco Bell® (NYSE: YUM) to examine Americans' drive-thru attitudes, behaviors and beliefs. Additionally, only half of Americans (50 percent) believe they can stick to a low-calorie diet while ordering through the drive-thru at quick service restaurants, while nearly 9 in 10 Americans (89 percent) would like to try better choices of their favorite menu items if they were offered.

Taco Bell®, which does approximately 70 percent of its business via the drive-thru, is answering Americans' call with their new Drive-Thru Diet® Menu, featuring seven incredible tasting, Fresco-style menu offerings with less than nine grams of fat.

Christine Dougherty, Pensacola, Fla., is featured in Taco Bell's Drive-Thru Diet Menu marketing campaign, which includes national TV ads showcasing her story of losing 54 pounds by reducing her daily calories while eating from the Taco Bell Drive-Thru Diet Menu. Like Dougherty, 72 percent of Americans visit drive-thrus for convenience, according the survey results.

"For me, I didn't want to cut out my fast food so I started choosing Fresco items from the Taco Bell drive-thru and making other sensible choices throughout my day," said Dougherty. "Admittedly, I'm not someone who likes to cook and needed to find easy and inexpensive ways to make better choices that helped me reduce overall calories and fat in my eating plan."

Available at participating Taco Bell locations nationwide, the Drive-Thru Diet Menu features seven Taco Bell favorites freshly-prepared with Fiesta Salsa -- a zesty and delicious mix of diced tomatoes, white onions and cilantro -- that replaces the cheese and sauce. Packed with flavor and only five calories per serving, the Fiesta Salsa allows you to reduce fat and calories without sacrificing flavor. Customers can make better choices compared to typical QSR choices while still enjoying their favorite tacos and burritos complete with grilled, marinated all-white-meat chicken, seasoned beef and even Carne Asada Steak. The Drive-Thru Diet® Menu includes:

-- Fresco Crunchy Taco - 7 grams of fat - 150 calories

-- Fresco BURRITO SUPREME® - Chicken - 8 grams of fat - 340 calories

-- Fresco BURRITO SUPREME® - Steak - 8 grams of fat - 330 calories

-- Fresco Bean Burrito - 8 grams of fat - 340 calories

-- Fresco Soft Taco - 7 grams of fat - 180 calories

-- Fresco Grilled Steak Soft Taco - 4.5 grams of fat - 160 calories

-- Fresco Ranchero Chicken Soft Taco - 4 grams of fat - 170 calories

Convenience Driving Americans to Drive-Thrus

Half of Americans visit drive-thrus about twice a month, three in ten (29 percent) drive-thru three to five times a month, 16 percent visit drive-thrus six or more times a month, and eight percent more than 11 times a month, according to survey results.

Convenience is what attracts most Americans to visit drive-thrus at quick service restaurants, with seven in 10 (72 percent) ordering via the drive-thru when they are in a rush, and nearly as many (65 percent) saying they don't want to get out of their cars for reasons including bad weather (49 percent), hard-to-find parking (47 percent), having children in the car (30 percent), and that the drive-thru is open but the restaurant lobby is not (28 percent).

"The reality is most Americans are on-the-go and will eat foods purchased through a drive-thru an average of 10 times a month," said registered dietitian Ruth Carey and nutritionist for the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers. "Whether ordering in the drive-thru, or in the restaurants, Taco Bell's Drive-Thru Diet Menu makes eating better convenient with not just one, but seven tasty choices with less than nine grams of fat."

The America's Drive-Thru Survey also revealed lunch (52 percent) followed by dinner (37 percent), breakfast (19 percent), and a snack or beverage (14 percent) are the most common occasions for Americans to visit quick service restaurant drive-thrus.

"Taco Bell is committed to offering a great-tasting menu that gives consumers the variety and choices they demand," said David Ovens, Chief Marketing Officer, Taco Bell Corp., Irvine, Calif. "Using quality ingredients like our freshly prepared Fiesta Salsa, the Drive-Thru Diet Menu is true to our Mexican-inspired heritage by offering real variety in form, flavors, taste, texture and the aroma our customers love, while being lower in fat."

Integrated Campaign Promotes Drive-Thru Diet Menu

Current and new customers are hearing about Taco Bell's Drive-Thru Diet® Menu and delicious Fresco-style foods through a robust and integrated campaign in the first quarter of 2010. The campaign includes advertising, in-store promotions, Web sites and social media activity, as well as public relations and integration with Taco Bell's existing NBA marketing partnership. Additionally, Taco Bell has teamed up with Carey to offer sound nutrition advice for people looking to make better choices at QSRs.

Taco Bell's Drive-Thru Diet Menu campaign features Dougherty, a real-life Taco Bell® customer who serves as an example of how to make better choices when ordering at a drive-thru and who has become the face of the seven Fresco-style menu items. During a two-year period, Christine achieved exceptional results by consuming only 1,250 calories per day, a 500 calorie/day reduction, and replacing her regular QSR meals with Taco Bell's Fresco menu offerings. Christine has brought alive her story, and the new choice available for QSR customers, online and through Taco Bell advertising, and is featured in stores through signage and promotions about the Drive-Thru Diet Menu. Christine is featured in Taco Bell's first ever infomercial, a long-form piece that will detail her story as well as some helpful tips done by NBA dietitian Ruth Carey. The advertising and all in-store signage was handled through Draftfcb, Orange County. Digital was handled through a partnership of Draftfcb, Orange County and R/GA, San Francisco. For more information about the Drive-Thru Diet Menu, visit

About Taco Bell Corp.

Taco Bell Corp. ("Taco Bell"), a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc., (NYSE: YUM), is the nation's leading Mexican-style quick service restaurant chain. Taco Bell serves tacos, burritos, signature quesadillas, Grilled Stuft Burritos, nachos, and other specialty items such as Crunchwrap Supreme®, in addition to the 79-89-99 Why Pay More!® Value Menu. Taco Bell serves more than 36.8 million consumers each week in nearly 5,600 restaurants in the U.S.

*America's Drive-Thru Survey

Conducted by KRC Research, the "America's Drive-Thru Survey" is nationally-representative of 1,002 Americans, 18 years-old+, who have visited a drive-thru at least as once in the past six months. The randomized telephone survey was conducted December 28, 2009-January 3, 2010 on behalf of Taco Bell Corp. The survey has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points at a 95 percent level of confidence. Further survey results and demographic information available upon request.

View or Download B-roll Package and 1 Minute Interview with Christine Dougherty and Ruth Carey for Free and in Broadcast Quality

Contact Information