10 Interesting Facts About Taco Bell

Glen Bell, the founder of Taco Bell, originally started out in the burger business with his restaurant “Bell’s Burgers.” However, he later ventured into Mexican-inspired fast food and created the iconic crunchy taco shell.

While Taco Bell is known for its affordable and delicious food, there are many fascinating facts about the chain that you may not be aware of. Let’s explore ten mildly spicy facts about Taco Bell.

The Founder’s First Venture Was a Burger Joint

Glen Bell opened his first burger stand, Bell’s Burgers, in competition with the McDonald’s brothers. However, he eventually realized that he needed to switch things up and experiment with Americanized Mexican food. Thus, Taco Bell was born.

He Opened His First Mexican-Inspired Restaurant Under a Different Name

After his tacos became a hit, Bell opened his first restaurant, Taco Tia, in San Bernardino, California, selling tacos for 19 cents each. He later opened another restaurant, El Taco, in Los Angeles. It wasn’t until 1962 that he opened the first Taco Bell in Downey, California.

Doritos Locos Tacos Went Through 40 Rounds of Recipe Testing

The creation of the iconic Doritos Locos Tacos proved to be a challenge, with 40 rounds of recipe testing needed to perfect the shell. The first version, sprayed with nacho cheese seasoning, was a flop. It took two years of testing to find the right balance of crunch and flavor with the sturdiness of a taco shell.

PepsiCo Created the Mountain Dew Baja Blast Exclusively for Taco Bell

Taco Bell and PepsiCo collaborated to create the Mountain Dew Baja Blast, a unique drink exclusive to Taco Bell’s drive-thru.

Since its introduction in 2004, the Mountain Dew Baja Blast has gained a cult following among Mountain Dew enthusiasts.

The combination of Mountain Dew and lime flavor pairs perfectly with the Mexican-inspired menu at Taco Bell.

Currently, the drink is available in its original, zero-sugar, and frozen varieties, with limited-time flavors like Baja Flash (pineapple and coconut) and Baja Punch (a blend of pineapple, orange, and cherry) also being released.

The crispy fries paired with nacho cheese sauce were a huge success for Taco Bell.

They were first launched in 2018 and have since been released several times on a limited-time basis.

The fries are seasoned with garlic, paprika, onion powder, and salt, which perfectly complements the gooey nacho cheese.

Taco Bell was sued over its chihuahua ads.

In the 1990s, the “Yo Quiero Taco Bell” phrase from the chihuahua ads became a cultural phenomenon, with $500 million spent on advertising for the character.

However, advertising for the character stopped in 2000, and disputes arose as early as 1998.

Two Michigan men, Joseph Shields and Thomas Rinks, created a “psycho chihuahua” character and had discussed adapting the character for Taco Bell advertisers.

The ads were ultimately run by a different advertising agency, and Shields and Rinks were awarded $30 million by a federal jury in 2003, with an additional $12 million in interest added three months later.

Taco Bell’s mascot, Gidget, appeared in Legally Blonde 2.

Gidget, the Taco Bell chihuahua, played Bruiser’s mom in Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde, and also appeared in old Geico commercials.

Taco Bell was the first restaurant chain to hire female managers.

In an interview with Restaurant News, former Taco Bell Director of Operations John Gorman revealed that the restaurant chain was the first to hire female managers.

Initially, all the managers were men, but they didn’t have enough of them, so women were hired to fill demand, making Taco Bell the first restaurant chain to do so.

The Taco Bell Foundation has awarded millions in scholarships.

The Taco Bell Foundation, established in 1992, has awarded over $130 million in scholarships and grants.

In 2022 alone, the foundation donated $8 million to 772 students from a pool of Taco Bell team members and fans.

The Live Más Scholars program aims to “break down barriers” for students who want to make positive contributions to their communities.

Taco Bell sparked controversy when it announced the purchase of the Liberty Bell.

Taco Bell has had its fair share of interesting marketing stunts, but none as notorious as its announcement that it had purchased the Liberty Bell.

In 1996, a few weeks before April Fool’s Day, the company’s executives began planning their prank.

The VP of Public Affairs remembered that many national landmarks had closed the previous year due to federal budget issues.

Taco Bell’s public relations agency had an idea to “sponsor” the Liberty Bell after placing a full-page ad in six major newspapers, including the New York Times and the Washington Post. The ad claimed that they had bought the national symbol to help pay off the national debt and would rename it the “Taco Liberty Bell.” Despite releasing a statement later that day confirming it was a prank, the National Park Service received thousands of complaints from customers against the company. However, the hoax led to an increase in sales and generated free advertising as other news outlets picked up the story. With their history of creative culinary options and ad campaigns, Taco Bell’s future menu additions are highly anticipated.

FAQ

1. What is Taco Bell?

Taco Bell is an American fast-food chain that specializes in Mexican-inspired foods such as tacos, burritos, and nachos. It was founded in 1962 by Glen Bell and has since become one of the largest fast-food chains in the world with over 7,000 locations.

2. What is the spiciest menu item at Taco Bell?

The spiciest menu item at Taco Bell is the Firecracker Burrito, which contains spicy shredded chicken, rice, cheese, and hot sauce. It is rated at a medium to high heat level and is not recommended for those who cannot handle spicy foods.

3. Does Taco Bell use real meat?

Yes, Taco Bell uses real beef and chicken in their menu items. They also have vegetarian and vegan options available for those who do not eat meat.

4. What is the most popular menu item at Taco Bell?

The most popular menu item at Taco Bell is the Crunchy Taco, which consists of a crispy taco shell filled with seasoned beef, lettuce, and cheese. It has been a fan-favorite since the chain first opened.

5. Does Taco Bell have a secret menu?

Yes, Taco Bell has a secret menu that consists of unique menu items that are not listed on the regular menu. Some popular secret menu items include the Enchirito, the Cheesarito, and the Quesarito.

6. What is the history of the Doritos Locos Taco?

The Doritos Locos Taco was first introduced by Taco Bell in 2012. It features a taco shell made entirely out of Doritos chips and has since become one of the chain’s most popular menu items.

7. Does Taco Bell have breakfast items?

Yes, Taco Bell has a breakfast menu that features items such as the Breakfast Crunchwrap and the A.M. Grilled Taco. The breakfast menu is available until 11 am at most locations.

8. Is Taco Bell a healthy option?

While Taco Bell does offer some healthier options such as the Fresco menu (which uses lower-fat ingredients), most of their menu items are high in calories, fat, and sodium. It is best to enjoy Taco Bell in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

9. Does Taco Bell offer delivery?

Yes, Taco Bell offers delivery through various third-party services such as GrubHub and DoorDash. Delivery availability may vary depending on location, so it is best to check with your local Taco Bell.

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