Taco Bell chooses Dayton to taste-test its new crispy chicken strips

New fried-chicken product available with dipping sauce or in a taco

Taco Bell has developed a new product and is seriously considering jumping into the fried-chicken-strips game, and will make its decision based in large part on what its customers in Dayton think of their new offering.

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Dayton is one of just two cities in the U.S. chosen by Taco Bell to test-market Crispy Tortilla Chicken, which is being rolled out tomorrow, Thursday Nov. 21, in Dayton and in Houston, Texas, according to Nation's Restaurant News, an industry web site and publication.

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A spokesman for the Dayton-area franchisee for Taco Bell,

Jeff Stone, director of Fiesta Holdings, which oversees Taco Bell restaurants in the Dayton area, confirmed to this news outlet this morning, Nov. 20, that Crispy Tortilla Chicken would be available at all Dayton-area Taco Bells starting at 9 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 21.

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Nation’s Restaurant News (NRN) reported this morning that Taco Bell is fast-tracking its chicken-strip limited time offer, in part because of the growth in interest in fried-chicken strips and sandwiches in recent months.

Credit: Submitted

Credit: Submitted

In August, the Popeyes Classic Chicken Sandwich made its initial debut, and quickly sparked a viral Twitter feud between Popeyes and Chick-fil-A over which chain’s chicken sandwich was superior. In just two weeks, the Popeyes menu item sold out completely and was pulled off the chain’s menu. It was re-introduced three weeks ago.

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This is the first time Taco Bell has tested its own fried chicken strips with a dipping sauce, NRN reported. The price will be $1.99 for a soft flour tortilla taco with one chicken strip, and $3.99 for 3 strips served with the new dipping sauce, NRN reported.

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"After testing, the brand hopes to launch the strips nationwide by summer 2020 — a relatively quick turnaround for a chain of nearly 7,000 restaurants," the NRN.com story said.

The industry publication reported that Taco Bell's food innovation team has been working on perfecting a fried chicken recipe for eight to nine month, and tested about 100 versions before deciding on a recipe that fits Taco Bell’s playful Mexican-inspired flavor profiles.

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“The all-white meat chicken is marinated in tangy jalapeno buttermilk and then rolled in a blend of panko bread crumbs and crushed white tortilla chips,” NRN reported. “The chip-flavored coating combined with the buttermilk brine and the new Creamy Chilli Pepper dipping sauce creates the Taco Bell twist that the test kitchen strives for ... .”

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Taco Bell has tested chicken before, NRN reported. Its restaurants featured a red chili-flavored strip in 2015, but it did not come with a dipping sauce. The Naked Chicken Chalupa, which features a taco shell made of fried chicken, has been an on-again, off-again menu item since early 2017, the industry publication reported.

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