Taco Bell announced on Monday that it would eliminate kids' meals from all of its menus by January, touting itself as the first national chain to do so.
“As we continue our journey of being a better, more relevant Taco Bell, kid’s meals and toys simply no longer make sense for us to put resources behind,” said Greg Creed, chief executive officer of Taco Bell. “What does make sense is concentrating on expanding choices that meet and exceed the diverse needs of consumers of all ages, without losing focus on what makes us great today.”
Consumer groups and children's health advocates have long pressed for the elimination of fast food kids' meals, especially those marketed with toys.
But Taco Bell says the move has only to do with the fact that kids' meals only account for a tiny portion of the chain's sales -- about 0.5 percent. Known especially for late-night hours, most of the chain's consumers are teens and Millennials.
In 2012, Taco Bell posted $7.5 billion in U.S. sales, and spent zero on kids' meal marketing.
For comparison, McDonald's Happy Meals accounted for about 10 percent of the chain's U.S. sales, which were $35.6 billion in 2012.
Though Taco Bell may be the first national chain to eliminate kids' meals, beginning in July, Jack in the Box, a regional chain, did the same two years ago.