Fresher Taco Bell? Bakersfield becoming go-to test market

Fresher Taco Bell? Bakersfield becoming go-to test market
Photo from Taco Bell's Facebook page.

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — First, it was the Doritos Locos Tacos. Now, it's the Cantina Bell menu.

Bakersfield is becoming a go-to test market for fast-food giant Taco Bell.

The Cantina Bell menu will feature upmarket, fresh-ingredient items, according to a Reuters report out Friday.

The menu will become available locally next Thursday, Jan. 26, and will feature $5 tacos, burritos and bowls similar to those found at Chipotle. Ingredients will include black beans, cilantro rice and grilled corn salsa, Reuters reports.

"To be a more relevant Taco Bell, we can sell products that are every bit as good but cost a whole lot less," Taco Bell CEO Greg Creed told Reuters, referring to the competition this could set up with Chipotle and Qdoba Mexican Grill.

The other test market for the Cantina Bell menu will be Louisville, Ky.

Irvine-based Taco Bell recently initiated a test run of Doritos Locos Tacos - shells styled after the nacho cheese snack chips - in Bakersfield. Folks in Bakersfield must have liked Doritos Locos Tacos, because Reuters reports that Taco Bell will debut them later this year across the country.

Taco Bell also apparently offered its breakfast menu in Bakersfield sooner that other parts of the country, because Reuters reports the chain will begin offering breakfast later this month in 800 of its Western U.S. restaurants.

If the Cantina Bell menu is popular in Bakersfield and Louisville, it could be rolled out nationally by the end of 2012, Reuters reports.