What comes first into your mind when you think of typical American fast food? Right – giant burgers, french fries and pizza. You probably would not guess that you could find Tex-Mex cuisine among all those many American fast food chains.
In 1962, the U.S. American Glen Bell, founder of Taco Bell, opened up the first Taco Bell restaurant in Downey, California. Bell's initial idea was to build a minigolf course but the economic and financial situation made him change his mind and he decided to enter the fast food industry instead. Soon after – in 1964, Kermit Becky, a retired policeman, opened up the first Taco Bell franchise restaurant. In the early 50ies, Bell had already opened his very first hotdog stand, called „Bell's drive-in“ and another two small taco restaurants. In the beginning, he sold tacos for only 19 cents a piece! But Bell's business did not really earn much success so both of them were closed down shortly after their opening.
Taco Bell, on the other hand, was a big hit and is currently the biggest fast food chain of the Tex-Mex cuisine in America with more than roughly 5,600 restaurants throughout the United States. While some fast food chains in the U.S. can just be found locally, Taco Bell has restaurants located in all 50 U.S. States and, in addition, a considerable amount of worldwide restaurants. The famous logo with the pink bell was created in honor of the Taco Bell founder's last name and has had quite a few different designs throughout the years.
In 1978, Bell sold 868 of his restaurants to PepsiCo Inc., of which Tricon Global Restaurants split off in 1997 as an independent company, known as Yum! Brands, Inc. today. Apart from Taco Bell, this largest group of companies worldwide for system catering owns popular fast food chains, such as KFC and Pizza Hut.
From tacos to burritos to Mexican pizza – Taco Bell offers anything the heart of a true Tex-Mex fan desires! Meals can be spiced up with the famous hot sauce, Glen Bell himself created the recipe back then. The first Taco Bell Express restaurant was opened in San Francisco, CA in 1991. These restaurants are smaller than the regular branches and are mostly located in or near truck stops and airports. The special fact about Taco Bell Express is that the entire processs of preparing your food takes less than 30 seconds from the time you have placed your order! We call this an amazing customer service which, by the way, is top priority for Americans!
Due to the re-entry of the "Mir" space station in March 2001, the company organized a promotion where a huge Taco Bell logo was placed in the Pacific ocean. Taco Bell promised a free taco to every person in the U.S., if a piece of the space station hit the target during the re-entry. This time the company got lucky and the logo stayed untouched. A similar campaign took place in 2007 during the World Series – free tacos for a stolen base during the baseball game („stolen base“ is a baseball term: the baserunner makes it from one base to the next before the pitcher can throw the ball to the home base). A stolen base actually happened and Taco Bell gave out free food.
Many fast food chains have a company mascot - of course Taco Bell has one too! The „Taco Bell chihuahua“ Gidget, born in 1994, was not only Taco Bell’s mascot until she passed away in 2009, but also became famous in the movie „Legally Blonde 2“. You can purchase your very own puppy Gidget as a stuffed animal at their stores too!
In 1992, the Taco Bell Foundation launched the program TEENsupreme aiming to keep students on the path to a successful graduation from school. They distribute scholarships, grants, promote national campaigns and offer special programs tailored for students. Taco Bell even has a cooperation with the "Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation", a non-profit organization also supporting teenagers.
Other than many fast food restaurants that mainly offer meat-based meals, Taco Bell recently decided to additionally provide "vegan style" options. You can have it all at Taco Bell - fast food and vegan!
So the bottom line is: even when it comes to fast food, all dreams can come true in the U.S. – another reason to move to the land of opportunity. Sign up today to win a U.S. Green Card to explore the American lifestyle first-hand and forever!
Official Name: Taco Bell
Official Website: www.tacobell.com
Established: March 21, 1962
Founder: Glen Bell
First Store: 7127 E Firestone Blvd, Downey, CA 90241
Bestseller: Crunchy Beef Taco, Soft Taco, Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Taco
Slogans: Think outside the bun, Live más