Taco Bell has hit an all-time low.
The faux-Mexican restaurant that famously introduced "The Fourth Meal" announced today it will be releasing a cheaper-than-ever "Meal Deal": for just two bucks, customers can scarf down a medium soda, bag of Doritos, and their choice from four taco and burrito entrées.
One of the options, the Beefy 5-Layer Burrito, packs 540 calories and 22 grams of fat—and that's before the chips and soda. Another option, the Gordita Supreme, translates to "supreme little fat one." Warning flags, anyone?
This race to the bottom is common in the fast-food industry—think McDonald's dollar menu and Subway's $5 Footlong—as companies compete for customer attention. A lagging economy has upped the pressure to impress customers who have been conditioned to pay for each meal with a five-dollar bill.
Advertisements for the new menu option will begin this Sunday. According to USA Today, ads will feature Taco Bell employees and customers debating how Taco Bell can possibly swing this deal for so cheap.
But after raising the question, the chain restaurant hasn't offered up an answer: "Taco Bell's marketing guy declined to explain how Taco Bell could afford to offer this deal," says Meg Marco at The Consumerist.
Here's one guess: they saved on quality.