10 Things You Didn't Know About Taco Bell - The chain once promised every American a free taco. (2023)

Next time you're picking up Doritos Locos Tacos at the drive-thru, drop some of this TB trivia on your friends.

Khushbu Shah

While Taco Bell might not quite match the global success of some its fast-food competitors, it’s pop-culture cachet is near untouchable. From branding coups like the “FourthMeal” slogan and the iconic chihuahua, to the invention of a language all of its own, the chain has captured our imagination with its sometimes bizarro antics and its munchies-friendly image. Among people who actively hate and avoid fast food, Taco Bell is often the one exception they’ll make. CrunchWrap Supremes have power like that.

Taco Bell was founded in California in 1962 by Glen Bell, an entrepreneur who had previously run a hot-dog stand called Bell’s Drive-In, as well as a taco joint called Taco-Tia. By 1967, there were 100 Taco Bells operating in L.A. next to dozens of other local fast-food Mexican chains. In his book Taco USA, journalist Gustavo Arellano argues that these Mexican-American hybrids were “a gateway drug…a bridge, a guide, for the American gut,” providing a safe entry point Mexican food even as it appeared to mangle its ingredients and origins.

Recently, Taco Bell has continued its assault on the popular conscience with meme-worthy creations like Doritos Locos Tacos, which sold more than half a billion units in their first year. It’s also been a game-changer in terms of how a big brand can use social media, running an infamously cheeky Twitter account, fostering a playful relationship with YouTube megastar Tyler Oakley, and even using the teen-favored app Snapchat to announce the return of the Beefy Crunch Burrito.

Regardless of what you think about the flavor of the ground beef, there’s no doubt that Taco Bell is one of the most creative fast-food joints in the game. Still, it’s had their fair share of slip-ups along the way. Here are ten things you might not know (or remember) about Taco Bell, including is role in Demolition Man and its beef with 50 Cent.

  • Taco Bell was the first national chain to get rid of its kids' menu.

    In a surprise move, Taco Bell recently announced that it would nix kids' menus (plastic toys and all) for good, making it the first national chain to do so. The decision has been cheered on by groups such as the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which said, "Taco Bell is taking a constructive step forward by no longer using toys to encourage kids to pester their parents to go to a restaurant." Here's the thing, though: When a restaurant offers cheesy quesadillas, bright blue caffeine, and what might be the most addictive deep-fried cinnamon dessert in chain history, we doubt the kids are going there just for an Avengers action figure.

  • 50 Cent is not a fan of Taco Bell's Value Menu.

    In order to promote its Value Menu, Taco Bell sent out a fake letter addressed to 50 Cent to all the major networks, jokingly asking him to change his name to any of the prices on the menu—79 Cent, 88 Cent, or 99 Cent. Fiddy was not amused and slapped Taco Bell with a lawsuit claiming that it illegally used his name to promote the menu without paying him the millions of dollars he would usually receive for an endorsement. 50 Cent and Taco Bell settled the lawsuit out of court for a sum that could in theory buy him and all of G-G-G-G-Unit tacos for life.

  • In the movie Demolition Man, Taco Bell is the only restaurant that exists.

    In the early 90s film Demolition Man, starring Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes, Taco Bell is the only fast food chain to survive in a futuristic world where franchises have been at war. In the film, it's depicted as a fine-dining establishment, with valet parking and a full-on dance floor (something we not-so-secretly wish would happen in real life_. The futuristic purple and pink Taco Bell logo in the film also inspired the chain's one and only logo change in it's entire existence. In the European version of the film, Taco Bell was replaced by Pizza Hut since it didn't have any locations on the continent.

  • Taco Bells in Mexico were marketed as American food (and they were total fails).

    The Tex-Mex chain has managed to open well-received locations in unexpected countries such as India, Singapore, and Costa Rica. But it has failed horribly—not once, but twice—when attempting to open locations in Mexico. (Perhaps not surprising, since Mexicans need no help in "thinking outside the bun"). Taco Bell attempted to market the chain as American food and even called the tacos "tacostadas" to avoid insulting the local population. Although Mexico recently surpassed us as the fattest country in the world, our neighbors to the south don't look like they'll be going loco for Doritos taco shells any time soon.

  • The Chinese Taco Bell was called Taco Bell Grande, and it was a full-service restaurant.

    While Taco Bell was marketed as American food in Mexico, it was given a fancier spin in China. Instead of the usual emphasis on cheap and quick, cheesy-beefy goodness, the three locations that opened were dubbed Taco Bell Grandes, and they were run as full-service restaurants similar to On The Border Mexican Grill. The franchises floundered and have all been closed.

  • The chain once promised every American a free taco.

    Taco Bell has always had a knack for crazy publicity stunts. Back in 2001, when the Mir space station was scheduled for a crash landing, Taco Bell bought out an expensive insurance policy and anchored a massive floating target in the ocean around 15km off the coast of Australia. If the core of the space station hit the large bull's-eye painted with the words "Free Taco Here" in purple lettering, every American would get a free taco. Sadly, the space station landed nowhere near the target and Americans had to returning to scrounging for taco money in their couches.

  • Taco Bell was all set to make the greatest infomerical ever...until the talent died.

    In June 2009, Taco Bell signed a deal with Billy Mays, of OxiClean fame, to shoot a series of infomercial-style commercials for the chain. Sadly, Mays passed away before this genius idea could come to fruition.

  • The brand once punk'd America better than Ashton Kutcher ever could.

    In a well-planned April Fool's prank, Taco Bell took out full-page ads in six major newspapers to proclaim that it had purchased the Liberty Bell and was going to rename it the Taco Liberty Bell. What we can't understand is why people became so incensed. We're pretty okay with freedom tasting like nacho cheese and Fire Sauce.

  • Willie Nelson did a Taco Bell commerical.

    What do a chihuahua and Willie Nelson have in common? The fact that they both starred in Taco Bell's TV spots. The chain managed to convince the legendary musician to participate in an advertisement in the '90s (the fact that Willie was in major debt, to the tune of $16.7 million, probably helped). Not only was the ad and its accompanying song completely epic, but it also inspired someone at Texas Monthly to pen a paper with perhaps the best title of all time: "Deconstructing Willie: Carnality, Castration Anxiety, and Jouissance in Willie Nelson’s Taco Bell Commercial."Note: The video above is comedian Bill Hick's parody of the commercial.

  • Taco Bell used to have a sandwich on the menu.

    While one of its more famous slogans might be "Think Outside of the Bun," Taco Bell did once put a sandwich on the menu called the "Bell Beefer." This curiously named creation was essentially the components of a regular beef taco shoved into a bun—a sloppier take on a sloppy joe, if you will. The Bell Beefer was introduced in the mid-1980s, but like many things from the decade, it faded to oblivion.


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Latest News


What are 5 interesting facts about Taco Bell? ›

15 Facts You Might Not Know About Taco Bell
  • REMEMBER 59-79-99?
Jan 22, 2016

Why did Taco Bell give free tacos? ›

Taco Bell's connection with professional sports

Taco Bell's Steal a Base, Steal a Taco promotion, which rewards bases stolen during a World Series game with a free Doritos Locos Taco for all, started in 2007 as a way for the chain to be a part of the “cultural phenomenon” that is the World Series.

What is Taco Bells brand promise? ›

Taco Bell Mission Statement

We take pride in making the best Mexican style fast food providing fast, friendly, & accurate service.

What all did Taco Bell take off the menu? ›

Discontinued Taco Bell Menu Items
  • 7-Layer Burrito.
  • Caramel Apple Empanada.
  • Bell Beefer.
  • Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes.
  • Enchirito.
  • Spicy Potato Soft Taco.
  • Spicy Tostada.
  • Beefy Crunch Burrito.
Nov 29, 2022

What are the 4 P's for Taco Bell? ›

Marketing Strategy of Taco Bell analyses the brand with the marketing mix framework which covers the 4Ps (Product, Price, Place, Promotion).

What tacos did Taco Bell get rid of? ›

Say Goodbye to These 14 Items
  • Grilled Steak Soft Taco.
  • Nachos Supreme.
  • Spicy Tostada.
  • Triple Layer Nachos.
  • Spicy Potato Soft Taco.
  • Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes.
  • Loaded Grillers.
  • Chips & Dips.
Jan 7, 2023

Why is Taco Bell giving away free burritos? ›

On Thursday, the chain will offer free breakfast burritos at its United States restaurants. The giveaway, which runs between 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., serves as a reminder that breakfast has returned at roughly 90% of Taco Bell locations after being temporarily paused because of the pandemic.

Do workers at Taco Bell get free food? ›

Restaurant Support Center Perks:

Free snacks, drinks and bagel & donut Fridays. Onsite childcare through Bright Horizons. Onsite dining center and game room (yes, there is a Taco Bell inside the building)

What is Taco Bell's unique selling proposition? ›

Though most restaurants would characterize their value proposition as “making good food,” Taco Bell established a business model focused on “feeding people” – and feeding them quickly and cheaply.

How many free tacos does Taco Bell give away? ›

The offer is limited to one taco per customer. Taco Bell's annual “Steal a Base, Steal a Taco” promotion returned for its 10th nonconsecutive year in 2021, promising free tacos in the event that any player for the Braves or Astros steals a base during the World Series.

What is Taco Bell loyalty? ›

It's Taco Bell's customer loyalty program. It's pretty simple – when you make eligible purchases through your Taco Bell account, you'll earn points to unlock free items and special offers. You'll also gain exclusive and early access to new products and other surprises along the way!

What is the cheapest thing at Taco Bell? ›

Cravings Value Menu
  • Spicy Potato Soft Taco. $1.00 | 240 Cal. ...
  • Chipotle Ranch Grilled Chicken Burrito. $2.00 | 510 Cal. ...
  • Beefy Melt Burrito. $2.00 | 620 Cal. ...
  • Cheesy Bean and Rice Burrito. $1.00 | 420 Cal. ...
  • Fiesta Veggie Burrito. $2.00 | 570 Cal. ...
  • Cheesy Roll Up. $1.00 | 180 Cal. ...
  • Cinnamon Twists. $1.00 | 170 Cal. ...
  • Classic Combo.

What item did Taco Bell just bring back? ›

Taco Bell's Classic Enchirito Is Returning After Almost a Decade.

What menu item did Taco Bell just bring back? ›

What is the Enchirito? This item made its debut in the '70s, before leaving the menu in 2013. Described by Taco Bell as a bold innovation, it is made up of a soft flour tortilla filled with seasoned beef, beans and onions, and smothered with a red sauce with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese.

What is the most eaten taco? ›

Top 5 Tacos in America
  • #5: Carne Asada Tacos Dorados — La Taqueria. ...
  • #4: Migas Taco — Veracruz All Natural. ...
  • #3: Al Pastor Taco — Los Guachos Taqueria. ...
  • #2: Carnitas Tacos — Carnitas Uruapan. ...
  • #1: Fish Tacos — Ricky's Fish Tacos. ...
  • Top 5 Restaurants.
Oct 11, 2022

What is the Hulk at Taco Bell? ›

The Incredible Hulk | Taco Bell Secret Menu
Availability:All Locations
The Secret:Beefy Five-Layer Burrito with Guacamole instead of Nacho Cheese. Subtract the inner 6" shell and make it FRESCO. (You can skip the Sour Cream as well)
The Incredible Hulk Price:$1.89
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Where is the fanciest Taco Bell in the world? ›

The Taco Bell that has been dubbed "the most beautiful in the world" is in Pacifica, California.

What is a number 6 at Taco Bell? ›

2 Chalupas Supreme Combo #6.

What is Taco Bell Friendsgiving? ›

Every November at Taco Bell Headquarters, we host a Friendsgiving dinner to celebrate and give thanks to some of our best friends. But we don't serve our guests your typical, traditional Thanksgiving meal - we add a Taco Bell Twist to every dish.

What is the #6 Combo at Taco Bell? ›

Combo #6 (2 Chalupas + 1 Hard Taco, Beef)

Why are people boycotting Taco Bell? ›

In 2001, the CIW launched the boycott of Taco Bell, calling on the fast-food giant to take responsibility for human rights violations in their supply chain, to improve wages and working conditions by passing on a penny-per-pound pay increase to the workers, and to buy only from Florida growers who passed this penny per ...

What did Taco Bell do to their meat? ›

We use 100 percent USDA premium beef in our seasoned beef. We prepare it much the same way you prepare taco meat at home: after simmering, it is drained of excess fat and pre-seasoned with our signature blend of 7 authentic seasonings and spices.

Why did Taco Bell stop selling salads? ›

Taco Salad

According to The Cold Wire, the Mexican chain got rid of the bowl due to the "difficulty of maintaining the taco shell bowls," as well as low demand. However, it's fair to say that there's still some demand—a fan even started a petition for the salad's return.

How do I claim Taco Bell free tacos? ›

1) Download the official Taco Bell app — That's right, Taco Bell has an app. Simply download it to your smartphone. 2) Join Taco Bell Rewards — Join Taco Bell's free rewards program. Sign up and create an account to activate your free Doritos Locos Taco.

How to get free food at Taco Bell? ›

The Taco Bell Rewards is the best way to get free food items. You get a free item when you sign up for the Taco Bell rewards program, which you can redeem anytime within 14 days of sign-up. We got a free Doritos Locos Taco, a $2.99 value. Plus, you'll get a free birthday reward every year.

How long are breaks at Taco Bell? ›

You do get 2 30 min breaks.

Can you have a beard at Taco Bell? ›

No facial hair is acceptable in OUR Taco Bell. You must be clean shaven when arriving for your shift.

What is the dress code for Taco Bell employees? ›

The dress code at Taco Bell consists of the company's uniform. Workers are provided a Taco Bell shirt, hat, and pants by the company. Employees wear black non-slip shoes. Visible undershirts must be clean and solid white.

What are Taco Bell's weaknesses? ›

Weaknesses of Taco Bell

It hinders the ability of the firm to have a competitive advantage over global players. Reliance on a Small Number of Suppliers: Taco Bell relies on a small number of suppliers for its main ingredients, which include chicken, pork, and beef.

What is Taco Bell's secret ingredient? ›

Soy lecithin

Emulsification brings together two ingredients that otherwise would naturally be repelled by one another—like the oil and vinegar in your salad dressing. In Taco Bell's case, it keeps the ground beef and fat from separating.

Why did Taco Bell get rid of Value Menu? ›

Taco Bell is eliminating 12 more items from its menu, including four items from its popular Cravings Value menu – a move made to streamline operations and clear the space for new items such as plant-based meals. The downsizing, which starts Aug. 13, comes less than a year after the Irvine, Calif.

Does Taco Bell give free unlimited refill? ›

Whatever you order, don't forget your drink! ¿Coca-Cola, Lemon or Orange Fanta, Nestea – we surely have your favourite soft drink, and you can also refill it for free as many times as you like! At Taco Bell you won't be hungry or thirsty.

Who stole the base for free tacos? ›

The Philadelphia Phillies outfielder trigged the Taco Bell “Steal a Base, Steal a Taco” offer during the first game of the World Series on Friday against the Houston Astros. Schwarber became the “Taco Hero” and won fans a free Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Tacos!

What is Taco Bell's steals slogan? ›

Go Phils! But even as a baseball fan, the more exciting prospect of watching the series unfold is the return of Taco Bell's erstwhile, dizzyingly on-the-nose “Steal a Base, Steal a Taco” promo.

Does Taco Bell give free food on your birthday? ›

Steak 'n Shake – Download the Steak 'n Shake rewards app for a Free specialty milkshake on your birthday. Taco Bell – Get a free Mountain Dew Baja Blast freeze on your birthday at Taco Bell when you use the Taco Bell mobile app. Taco Cabana – Free Flauta Plate when you enroll in the Taco Cabana eclub.

Do Taco Bell employees get discounts? ›

You get at least some of the price off. Nothing bad to say about 25 percent employee discount and up to $12 per shift for employee meals.

Does Taco Bell give you a card? ›

Taco Bell Gifting

Employees, customers, clients. This is the crowd pleaser. No need to commit now. Gift cards are available at your nearest Taco Bell® whenever an occasion arises.

What is Taco Bell's $10 box right now? ›

This $10 cravings pack is a new box that is available at participating Taco Bell locations nationwide. It comes with four crunchy tacos and four beefy five layer burritos. As a reminder, the beefy five layer burritos that come in this cravings pack include beef, beans, sour cream, cheese, and nacho cheese sauce.

Does Taco Bell have $5 boxes? ›

Free $5 Chalupa Cravings Box | Taco Bell®

What is the most expensive thing on the Taco Bell menu? ›

As of January 24th, Taco Bell have been quietly testing a brand new luxury item. Launched exclusively in Cleveland, Ohio, the chain have unveiled the “Double Steak Melt Deluxe Box”, a massive meal that comes with a substantial $7 price tag.

Why is Mexican Pizza not available at Taco Bell? ›

It's everything we love about tacos and pizza, in one dish. It appears, though, Mexican Pizza was too popular for its own good, because just a few weeks after its grand return, stores are selling out. “Our restaurant teams trained weeks for what we knew would be a big return. We just didn't realize how big.

Did Taco Bell give out toys? ›

Taco Bell Discontinues All Kids Meals. IRVINE, Calif., July 23, 2013 - Taco Bell® today announced that it will discontinue kid's meals and toys at its U.S. restaurants, becoming the first national quick service restaurant chain to do so.

What is coming to Taco Bell in 2023? ›

Taco Bell's Menu For 2023 Includes 2 New Versions Of Mexican Pizza. You can get them before the new year, too!

What menu item did Taco Bell bring back for the first time in 10 years? ›

Taco Bell asked fans what menu item should be brought back. It was between the saucy Enchirito and the crispy, crunchy Double Decker Taco — and the former came out as the winner, according to a press release emailed to the Deseret News.

What menu item did Taco Bell bring back last month? ›

It finally came back in mid-September. The Enchirito was actually the recipient of its own petition three years ago, as did the Double Decker Taco, but both received markedly less votes. This time, however, legions of fans of the Bell showed up to Live Más and vote to bring back The Enchirito.

What made Taco Bell famous? ›

1989. Taco Bell pioneers the concept of linking fast-food marketing promotions with major movie blockbusters. Its "Batman" promotion is a huge success, placing Taco Bell in the spotlight.

What does Taco Bell known for? ›

The restaurants serve a variety of Mexican-inspired foods, including tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos, novelty and speciality items, and a variety of "value menu" items.

Why is it called Taco Bell? ›

Turns out, Taco Bell received its name from the owner's name, Glen Bell. According to Taco Bell's website, Glen Bell originally created Bell's Drive-In and Taco Tia in San Bernardino, California, in 1954. It wasn't until 1962 when the name was changed to “Taco Bell” after Bell opened a restaurant in Downey, California.

Why is Taco Bell so famous? ›

The popular Mexican-inspired American fast-food chain has always been known for its product innovation, which started in 2012 with the widely popular Doritos Locos Tacos. Product development seems to be at the forefront of their strategy and they have succeeded tremendously.

How much was a Taco Bell taco in 1975? ›

The earliest official Taco Bell menu offered frijoles, tostados, chili burgers, burritos (red or green) and tacos, all for 19 cents apiece. Each of these items stuck around well into the '70s, while Bell and his franchisees went about expanding the chain throughout California and beyond.

What does taco mean? ›

Tacos were invented in Mexico before the Spanish arrived. In Mexican Spanish, taco means "light meal," but also "wedge" or "plug." Experts have made guesses about the indigenous roots of taco (like the Nahuatl word tlahco, "half" or "in the middle"), but this connection hasn't been proven.

Did Taco Bell ever sell hot dogs? ›

Let's look at some facts that you may not know about our late founder: First came burgers… Then came tacos. Glen first served tacos at one of his early restaurants that actually sold hamburgers and hot dogs.

What state eats the most Taco Bell? ›


What culture food is Taco Bell? ›

Taco Bell, fast-food restaurant chain headquartered in Irvine, California, U.S., that offers Mexican-inspired foods. Founded in 1962 by American entrepreneur Glen Bell, the chain has more than 7,000 locations and over 350 franchisees worldwide.

What was Taco Bell's old slogan? ›

Coming off a rough year, Taco Bell is approaching its 50th birthday hoping to think less and live more, ditching its old “Think Outside the Bun” motto for a new slogan: Live Más.

Is Taco Bell meat even meat? ›

We use 100 percent USDA premium beef in our seasoned beef. We prepare it much the same way you prepare taco meat at home: after simmering, it is drained of excess fat and pre-seasoned with our signature blend of 7 authentic seasonings and spices.

How much was a Taco Bell taco in 1990? ›

When the first "value menu" launched, Taco Bell priced a taco at just 39 cents. However, according to a New York Times article from 1990, former Taco Bell CEO John Martin said the chain's "transactions went through the roof, but profitability went through the floor." The price of a taco was then raised to 49 cents.

Why do Americans love Taco Bell so much? ›

How Taco Bells Gets the Right Attention. Customers aren't just happy because they can get a full meal for under $5. Satisfaction is increasing because Taco Bell gets the right people into their doors. They've set proper expectations, and customers are delivered the exact experience they expect.

Who makes more Taco Bell or Mcdonalds? ›

McDonald's's brand is ranked #85 in the list of Global Top 100 Brands, as rated by customers of McDonald's. Their current valuation is $167.91B. Taco Bell's brand is ranked #143 in the list of Global Top 1000 Brands, as rated by customers of Taco Bell.
McDonald's vs Taco Bell.
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