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Taco Bell rolls out dollar menu

Taco Bell is trying to hold onto its perception as the destination for the cheap fast food by taking its $1 Cravings Menu national.

The company began testing the dollar menu last year when it was trying to find a way to replace its then-current value menu called "Why Pay More." That menu included items originally priced at 79 cents, 89 cents and 99 cents, though those prices increased to well north of a dollar over time. (A spokeswoman for the company said a few of those items will appear on the $1 Cravings menu.) There were also $2 meal deals on the "Why Pay More" menu, and last year the company said those meals would likely "evolve."

The national menu, which launches Aug. 18, will include 11 items, including Beefy Fritos Burrito, Beefy Mini Quesadilla, Spicy Potato Soft Taco and a Caramel Apple Empanada. Marketing for the menu will launch Aug. 21 and will be led by Interpublic's Deutsch, its lead creative agency.

Taco Bell has had an active year. On top of launching breakfast in late March -- its biggest menu roll out ever -- the company named its chief marketer, Brian Niccol, as CEO in May. Last month it announced a roll out of its Cantina Power menu, which is essentially a mashup of its gourmet-positioned Cantina menu and its Power Protein menu, which it tested last year.

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