Taco Bell Muscles Into Breakfast Market

Courtesy Taco Bell

Look out Starbucks, McDonald's, Dunkin' Donuts and other chain restaurants catering to the morning crowd, there's a new "bell" at the ball.

Taco Bell, the fast-food chain that made its name as a favorite for the late-night crowd, is hoping that early birds will start to "think outside the bun" and try its new take on breakfast.  The Mexican-style restaurant today introduced a breakfast menu at almost 800 of its restaurants across nearly 12 Western states.

PHOTOS: Taco Bell's "First Meal" Menu Items

After a five-year trial run in select cities in California, Oklahoma, Arizona and Ohio, the company today expanded its breakfast menu to restaurants in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Utah, New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado and Texas.

Residents in those states will find 11 breakfast items, including burritos stuffed with eggs and steak, sausage or bacon, sausage and egg wraps and hash browns, alongside the chain's staples of gorditas, nachos, tacos and Mexican pizzas.

To help boost the line, Taco Bell partnered with breakfast food heavyweights Cinnabon, Johnsonville, Tropicana and Seattle's Best for the menu items, which range in price from 99 cents to $2.79.

The Irvine, Calif.-based chain said they hope to expand the new "First Meal" across its 5,600 U.S. restaurants by the start of 2014.  Taco Bell, along with KFC and Pizza Hut, is a subsidiary of the Louisville, Ky.-based Yum Brands Inc.

The launch is seen as a bid by the chain to tap into the $42 billion breakfast business that has been the bulk of the fast food industry's growth in recent years.

To serve the new breakfast menu, Taco Bell's stores not already open 24-hours will open one hour earlier, meaning, for most restaurants, an 8 or 9 a.m. start time.  Similar to other full-service food chains, the breakfast menu will no longer be available after 11 a.m.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.