Taco Bell's sales are soaring thanks to this unexpected dish

Taco Bell's sales are soaring — and it's thanks to fried chicken.

On Wednesday, Yum Brands reported that the Mexican fast-food chain's same-store sales grew 8% in the first quarter, with sales bolstered by the success of the chain's Naked Chicken Chalupa. Traffic grew by 5%, despite industry concerns of an incumbent restaurant recession.

"We sold over 25 million Naked Chicken Chalupas, which illustrates the enthusiasm for our crispy chicken offerings," Yum CEO Greg Creed said in a call with investors.

Creed said that $1 Double Stack Tacos and Triple Double Crunchwrap also helped boost sales.

"Our high-low value strategy is working," he said. "Going forward you can expect to see continued focus on innovation and value with our $1.49 Loaded Beef Burrito and more "naked" products in our second quarter."

RELATED: Check out the most-hated chain restaurants in America:

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

On Tuesday, Taco Bell announced that it would be rolling out its Naked Chicken Chips — the brand's take on the chicken nugget — nationally in mid-May.

Fried chicken has become one of the hottest menu items in the fast-food industry, as chains such as Taco Bell, McDonald's, and Arby's invest in the dish.

STOCK PRICE FOR YUM

Full price information

The chicken trend has its roots in economic realities, as in 2016 chicken prices were significantly lower than beef prices. However, prices have equalized — and chicken has become a star in its own right. While once seen as a greasy guilty pleasure, fried chicken managed to ditch its trashy reputation with the rise of fast-casual fried chicken sandwiches like Shake Shack's Chick'n Shack and celebrity chef David Chang's Fuku.

Now, after years of ground beef tacos, it's Taco Bell that's reaping the benefits of the rise of fried chicken.

NOW WATCH: Here's why some Coca-Cola bottles have a yellow cap

More from Business Insider:
We tried Taco Bell's answer to the Chicken McNugget that's rolling out nationwide — here's the verdict
An American jobs threat worse than coal is coming to your hometown
How to order the right way at Chick-fil-A

SEE ALSO: Forget burgers and fries — fried chicken is taking over the fast-food industry