Taco Bell takes aim at Chipotle with lobster tacos at new restaurant

The 1%er at U.S. Taco Co., a flatbread topped with lobster, garlic butter slaw, and roasted poblano...

The 1%er at U.S. Taco Co., a flatbread topped with lobster, garlic butter slaw, and roasted poblano crema (2014 Facebook)

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, Last Updated: 7:00 AM ET

Taco Bell has opened its answer to Chipotle, a new Mexican restaurant concept that will serve premium tortillas topped with lobster, grilled Mahi Mahi and peach jalapeno barbecue sauce.

The first US Taco Co. opened in Huntington Beach, California this week, taking direct aim at Chipotle with an MO that's strikingly similar to that of the fast-casual brand, which focuses on local and sustainable products.

US Taco Co. uses, for instance, wild caught seafood (not from fish farms), natural steak with no added hormones, cheese from US cheesemakers and lobster from the Northeast Atlantic Ocean.

To appeal to more affluent, socially conscious and Millennial consumers, menu items are given cheeky names like the Not my First Rodeo, Wanna Get Lei'd and the 1%er, for a flatbread stuffed with lobster, garlic butter slaw and roasted poblano crema.

It's become a common strategy for parent company Yum! to open a premium version of its fast food chains.

Last year, sister brand KFC launched more upscale versions of its restaurants with KFC Eleven in the US and KFC Fresh in Canada. Menu items include flatbreads, salads, rice bowls, and chicken sandwiches made with higher quality ingredients.

This summer, KFC Fresh restaurants in Toronto started serving cold beer.


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