Taco Bell is the largest Mexican restaurant on the planet by volume. Here’s how they did it…
Taco Bell has been dominating Mexican fast food since the 1960s. They own over 7,000 locations consistently generating over $10 billion dollars in annual sales.
Watch the full story how or read the summary below.
Here’s 5 reasons Taco Bell is a household brand:
According to this episode of Company Man anyways…
1. Founder Glenn Bell (hence the Bell logo)
First and foremost, Taco Bell wouldn’t be a thing without it’s founder, who knew how to spot a potential opportunity when he saw one.
A cook who served in WW2, Bell returned home to start a restaurant in San Bernardino CA. Inspired by the McDonald’s franchise, Bell copied the model. Literally, Taco Bell used to be called Bell’s Hamburgers, they originally sold cheeseburgers and hot dogs.
Until one day Glen added tacos to the menu, altering the course of taco history…
2. Taco Bell Single Handedly Introduced the World to Tacos
The second reason for Taco Bell’s now icon status, was their role in introducing tacos the American market.
After 14 years in the restaurant business and having gone through 5 different restaurants and concepts, Glen launch Taco Bell in March 21, 1962 in Downey CA.
At the time, most Americans had no clue what a taco was. When ordering, most customers asked for a “tay-ko”, simply because they simply had never heard of a taco. Kind of like the whole gyro “guyroh” thing…
And they obviously fell in love with them. Putting Taco Bell on the map.
“I always smile when I hear people say that they never had a taco until Taco Bell came to town”. – Glen Bell
3. Pepsi Gave Them a Shit Load of Money
Another reason for their success was their partnership deal with Pepsi.
In the 1970s Pepsi was expanding and looking to invest in new markets. They bought Pizza Hut for $315 million, giving them access to sell their sodas to customers dinning in the largest Pizza Chain on the planet up until that time. Pepsi wanted to saturate the Taco consumer market too. So they gave Glen a handsome $125 million for the right to sell Pepsi products at every Taco Bell.
Pepsi’s infusion of cash enabled the franchise to massively scale. They went from just under 1,000 locations in 1978 to nearly 7,000 by 1998. Meaning, almost every Taco Bell you’ve ever visited was started between the 80’s-90s Pepsi infused growth period.
4. Absolutely Bat-Shit Crazy But Catchy Menu Items…
While declaring to serve Mexican food, no one buys into that claim when it comes to Taco Bell. That’s because they have become famous for coming up with bat-shit crazy menu items.
The fourth key to the mega taco franchise model was their dedication to marketing. Especially standing out in crowded markets through their off the wall menu item.
Items like the Cheesy Gordita Crunch, the Mtn Dew Baja Taco Blast, their most successful product launch; the Crunch Wrap Supreme, and most recently the Doritos Locos Tacos. Or finally the rather nachos fries.
5. Taco Bell Excels at Marketing to Drunk People too…
Despite how much you want to hate them, Taco Bell continues to stay relevant across generations. They have a consistent track record of being customer focused and keeping their cost low. Something they have been promoting in their ads for decades…
One of their most successful marketing campaigns was “the forth meal of the day” commercials. After noticing a high influx in sales late at night (wink wink), the Bell starting promoting a “4th meal of the day”.
On a more serious note though, probably the biggest reason Taco Bell has been so success over the years has been their commitment to their original mission; “thinking outside the bun”. Mission accomplished…