Taco Bell's strange new taco comes with the best marketing buzzword you've heard in a while

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.

Fast food restaurants are desperate to look quick on the innovation front.

They realize that they're being challenged by upstarts whose food is, well, better.

So they'll look at technology and gimmickry in order to look appetizing.

It depends, though, on your version of appetizing.

Take Taco Bell.

It's often home to hordes of peculiarly hungry young people.

It's now also home to the Naked Egg Taco.

I suspect the word Naked is in there to attract a certain crowd. But it's what this concoction is that might make you crowd around an airport ticket counter, in order to get the first flight out of here.

This Naked Egg Taco, you see, replaces the traditional taco wrapping with a fried egg.

As Eater reports, inside are potatoes, cheese and your choice of bacon or sausage.

I suspect one or two of you might be wincing. After all, isn't there some sacred about the way tacos are made?

Oh, not at Taco Bell.

The company has already produced tacos that are wrapped in biscuits, waffles and, um, fried chicken. Donuts can't be far behind. Neither can Oreos.

So this egg-wrap thing has a relative artistry to it. And, lo, it's not quite as carb-heavy.

I am, though, saving the best for last. The best being Taco Bell's own explanation of its ingenuity.

"Shell innovation is at the core of where we experiment," Taco Bell's chief food innovator Liz Matthews told CNBC.

And what do you do?

I'm a shell innovator.

Oh, that sounds interesting. So you create new bodies for injured crustaceans?

Well, in a way.

If you're of a traditionalist spirit, you may weep a little.

But you can't stop innovation.

And you certainly can't stop shell innovation, however hollow it might sound to you.

RELATED: 10 fast-food chains customers love

10 fast-food chains customers love
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10 fast-food chains customers love

Domino's Pizza (78)

Rating a 78 on the American Consumer Satisfaction Index's Restaurant Report 2016, Domino's Pizza (NYSE:DPZ) has been one of the best-performing stocks on the market. This is due to improved food quality, and the company's embrace of technology to make it easier for customers to order, even allowing them to track the status of their pizza. Domino's score improved by three points from 2015, and is significantly better than its scores in the 1990s, which ranged between 67 and 70. 

Photo credit: Reuters 

KFC (78)

Like Domino's Pizza, the KFC division of Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) saw its score jump last year, improving from 73 to 78.  KFC had been closing U.S. locations, but he company is coming back with a renewed commitment to food quality, and is bringing back the Colonel Sanders character in its marketing campaigns. Sales are on the rise. 

Photo credit: Reuters 

Chipotle Mexican Grill (78)

Unlike the two other companies ranking at 78, Chipotle saw its customer satisfaction score fall last year, from 83 to 78. The E. coli crisis was the culprit, as comparable sales last year fell by more than 20%. Despite that stumble, Chipotle's restaurants remain popular compared to the rest of the industry, with average unit volumes of $1.87 million in 2016, putting the chain in the top 15 among all fast-food restaurants. 

Photo credit: Getty


Arby's (80)

Like KFC, Arby's (a privately held chain) seems to be in the midst of a surprising turnaround, as its customer satisfaction score jumped from 74 to 80 last year. The sandwich specialist was panned for its poor-quality food for years by comedian Jon Stewart, among others. However, a commitment to providing better meats, including slow-cooking them, and an ad campaign communicating that message have helped the company boost its image and sales. 

Photo credit: Getty

Subway (80)

Privately held Subway is the most ubiquitous restaurant chain in the world, with more than 40,000 locations. While that fact is no guarantee of customer satisfaction, the sandwich chain managed to improve from 77 last year to 80 in the ACSI survey. Subway has also made efforts to improve its food quality, changing the way it bakes bread and its recipes for roast beef and other products. 

Photo credit: Getty

Dunkin' Donuts (80)

Dunkin' Brands' (NASDAQ:DNKN) Dunkin' Donuts tied Subway and Arby's with a score of 80, improving from 78 the year before. Dunkin' also beat rival Starbucks, which received a 75. Dunkin' is known for its loyal fan base; the company is heavily concentrated in the Northeast and tends to target a more blue-collar following than its Seattle-based rival. Like other chains on the list, Dunkin' has been busy improving stores and adding new menu items. Last year, the coffee chain's comparable sales grew by 1.6%. 

Photo credit: Reuters 

Panera Bread (81)

One of the oldest fast-casual brands, Panera Bread (NASDAQ:PNRA) has long been a darling of customers and investors alike. With $2.5 million in average unit sales, the company is among the most popular fast-food restaurants. Its customer satisfaction score increased by a point last year to 81, as it made improvements to mobile ordering, focused on catering, and added in-store kiosks, which have helped improve customer service and cut down lines. 

Photo credit: Getty

Little Caesars (81)

Privately held pizza chain Little Caesars improved all the way from 74 in 2015 to 81 last year, the biggest jump of any fast-food chain. The company has been noted for value, which may explain the strong performance in customer satisfaction, as value is a key factor. Like other pizza chains, Little Caesars' restaurants are low-traffic, with average unit volumes of $815,000. 

Photo credit: Reuters 

Papa John's (82)

The third pizza chain on the list, Papa John's (NASDAQ:PZZA) may be benefiting from its sector as much as its operations, as delivery has becoming increasingly popular in the e-commerce age. Notably, there are no burger chains among the top 10. The company's score increased from 78 to 82 last year. Like Domino's, Papa John's has stepped up efforts in payment methods and in quality, removing high-fructose corn syrup (among other changes). In 2016, the chain's comparable sales increased 3.5% in North America and 6% internationally. 

Photo credit: Getty 

Chick-fil-A (87)

The popular chicken chain landed at the top of the list for the second year in a row, as its customer-satisfaction score increased a point to 87. Not only does Chick-fil-A rank at the top for customer satisfaction, but it also has higher average unit volumes than any other major chain at an estimated $3.44 million, in spite of being closed on Sundays. Clearly, the privately held company's excellence in customer satisfaction is a major reason for its industry-leading sales. 

Photo credit: Reuters 


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