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Associated Press

Taco Bell axing unpopular kids meals

NEW YORK (AP) — Taco Bell said Monday it will stop serving kids' meals and toys, which weren't really boosting sales anyway.

The chain said it will start removing the options this month at select restaurants, and that it anticipates that no U.S. restaurants will have them by next January. Taco Bell has traditionally gone after younger men who want to load up on fast-food for cheap.

In a press release set to be issued Tuesday, Taco Bell hails itself as the first national fast-food chain to get rid of kids' meals and toys.

"Pioneering this change on our menu is a bold move for our industry, and it makes sense for Taco Bell," CEO Greg Creed is quoted as saying in a statement.

That's notable because advocacy groups have criticized fast-food chains such as McDonald's Corp. for targeting kids in their marketing.

But in an interview, Creed said that kids' meals accounted for less than half of 1 percent of Taco Bell's sales, meaning that it's not really a sacrifice. The chain also hasn't dedicated national advertising to them for at least 12 years. As Taco Bell tries to extend the success of its Doritos-flavored tacos introduced last year, it's also trying to build its credentials with people in their 20s and 30s.

Kids' meals don't fit with that image.

"We're trying to be this Millennial edgy brand, and having a kid's meal was inconsistent," Creed said.

He said the energy the company had to devote to organizing its kids' meals and toys throughout the year would be better spent on its core menu.

Taco Bell is owned by Yum Brands Inc., of Louisville, Ky., which also owns KFC and Pizza Hut. KFC offers kids' meals in little buckets, but they don't come with toys.

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