Taco Bell has launched a new promotion in its mobile app, happening right now: You can either vote for the resurrection of the discontinued Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco, or an item called the Beefy Crunch Burrito. The former should be pretty self-explanatory, since the concept of the Doritos Locos Taco has been Taco Bell canon for a while now. But for fans of the Beefy Crunch Burrito, the stakes of this mobile app poll are higher than you might think.
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What’s so important about Taco Bell’s Beefy Crunch Burrito?
This simple burrito (for Taco Bell, anyway) is composed of seasoned rice, nacho cheese, sour cream, seasoned beef, and Flamin’ Hot Fritos—and it’s beloved. More than 66,000 people are members of a Facebook fan group dedicated to the burrito, calling themselves the Beefy Crunch Movement. For them, Taco Bell’s current poll is a chance to get their favorite item back on the menu for a fleeting amount of time. When the Enchirito resurfaced last year after winning a similar fan vote in the Taco Bell app, I have to say, I felt the same type of excitement.
But we all know that a get-out-the-vote campaign is no small undertaking. And since the public can only cast their vote within the Taco Bell app, this burrito’s triumphant return to the menu isn’t a sure bet yet.
The Beefy Crunch Burrito first came out in 2010 and, like so many Taco Bell novelties, was unceremoniously discarded just one year later. Richard Axton, founder of the Beefy Crunch Movement, was so upset about its removal from the menu that he started the rally behind its revival as soon as he learned the news. If you think this was some funny little inside joke, well, it wasn’t.
Axton was dead serious about his fandom; he swears that it’s the Flamin’ Hot Fritos that make the burrito perfect. Taco Bell currently offers a menu item called the Beefy Melt Burrito, which is the exact same build as the Beefy Crunch, with one key difference: it contains red tortilla strips rather than the Flamin’ Hot Fritos. Not the same.
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Taco Bell is well aware of the fervor behind the return of the Beefy Crunch Burrito (the video above was produced by Taco Bell itself), and the item has reemerged a few times in the decade since its discontinuation. It was available in Louisville only in 2015, then came back nationally in 2016 and most recently in 2018.
Asked whether the current in-app poll would satisfy members of the Beefy Crunch Movement, Axton provided The Takeout with the following response:
The ultimate purpose of the Movement is to bring back the Beefy Crunch Burrito with Flamin’ Hot Fritos to Taco Bell. Permanently preferred, but some semblance of a regular limited time promotion at the very least. While this vote is yet another hoop to jump through for Beefy Crunch fans, we’re once again stepping up to the plate, because that’s what we do. I see this vote as an opportunity for the amazing 12+ year Beefy Crunch Movement story to be told while in the spotlight. Win or lose, the Movement will not stop.
That’s a professional response if I’ve ever seen one. Diplomatic, too. Daily voting continues within the Taco Bell app until April 12. As it stands currently, the Beefy Crunch Burrito has a solid lead, with a vote of 60% to the Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco’s 40%. But with just under two weeks of voting remaining, this is anyone’s game.
As for the burrito itself, I’ve eaten plenty of Beefy Crunches whenever they reemerged for those brief moments in time. They’re not full of bells and whistles, but that’s what makes them pretty good—and I agree with the Movement, in that the Flamin’ Hot Fritos are non-negotiable. But for me, it’s less about the burrito and more about the joy of watching people band together behind their mutual love of something fun. What is it about Taco Bell in particular that inspires such devotion?
Axton noted that eight Beefy Crunch Burrito fans have even gone so far as to get permanent tattoos of the thing to convey their passion for it.
“They went all-in,” Axton said. “So we will go all in with them.”