Taco Bell Just Teased Its Plans to Join the Fast Food Chicken Wars

*Taco Bell has entered the chat.*

2021 is starting to feel a bit like 2019. Everyone's talking about fast food fried chicken sandwiches again. You might even say the so-called "chicken wars" are raging on, now that KFC and McDonald's are finally launching new-and-improved sandwiches. And now, a somewhat surprising competitor may be joining the crowded coop.

Taco Bell—fresh off of announcing the return of its beloved potato menu items—recently hinted that its gearing up to release a fried chicken menu item of its own. The Doritos Locos slinger is teasing it as a bit of game-changer. 

"I love watching the competitors," Global Chief Food Innovation Officer Liz Matthews told Business Insider. "I think a lot of players out there are doing a great job, but what I will say is that we will interrupt that with what we're going to do on chicken."

This won't be the first time Taco Bell has toyed with fried chicken. In fact, we've seen quite a few trial runs just recently; namely, Crispy Chicken Wings and Crispy Tortilla Chicken, the latter of which was slated for a national rollout in 2020, but never made it to menus. Oh, and let's not forget Taco Bell's Naked Chicken Chalupa, which was basically a crispy taco with a fried chicken shell, and one of our favorites, Naked Chicken Chips.

Though a rep for the chain declined to comment further on the new chicken innovation (or that Tortilla Chicken we were promised), it's clear Taco Bell has got its eye on the poultry trend. When and what exactly that means remains to be seen. And eaten.  

"Behind the scenes, the pipeline never stopped," Matthews told BI. "My team quickly switched to doing everything virtually. ... I think what you're going to see over the next 24 months is all of that work will come to light." 

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Megan Schaltegger is a staff writer at Thrillist.