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Taco Bell For better or worse it's what many Americans consider the Mexican-style alternative to everyday fast food.

Featuring a variety of "Value Menu" items, along with their wildly popular menu of tacos, burritos, and nachos, Taco Bell currently boasts 200 international franchises, although that number pales in comparison to the more than 5,800 neighborhood US locations coast to coast.

More astounding numbers tell the story: Taco Bell goes through 4 billion corn and flour tortillas, 62 million pounds of pinto beans, 295 million pounds of ground beef, and 106 million pounds of cheese each year. Not bad, especially for an operation that began humbly (as most American fast food success stories do) as a local neighborhood hangout.

also see in Holidays -> National Taco Day

Taco bell history

It was California native Glen Bell (hence the name, Taco Bell), who opened his first restaurant in San Bernadino as Bell's Drive-In in 1946. Frustrated with the time it took to prepare a taco, he later researched ways to transform a Mexican menu into quick American fast food.

With the rise of the quick serve restaurant craze in the late 50's, Bell was ready to respond with a Mexican-style version, under the the first Taco Bell banner opened in Downey, California in 1962.

Two years later, Taco Bell had its first franchise, and quickly added more throughout the state. With hundreds more dotting the map nationwide by 1975, Taco Bell was bought out by Pepsico (later spun off into the Yum! Brands family of restaurants that also now include KFC and Pizza Hut.) as Glen Bell walked away as a major Pepsico shareholder, and a multi-millionaire.

Under Pepsico's auspices, Taco Bell enjoyed expansive growth, and two years later had its first international franchises opening in Guam.

Taco Bell chihuahua

In 2009, millions mourned
the passing of "Gidget," the
Taco Bell Chihuahua.

Throughout the 80's Taco Bell further expanded with drive-ins and the enormously popular "Value Menu" and free drink refills.

The following decade saw the rise of Taco Bell's golden age of advertising, with a popular talking Chihuahua ("Yo Quiero Taco Bell!") that earned the company top advertising awards and millions of new fans. That same year, the company launched

Today, Taco Bell continues to innovative to bring the taste of Mexican food to the masses. Their latest, the Crunchwrap Supreme introduced at Taco Bell drive-ins in 2005, resulted in one of the company's most successful product launches ever. Originally introduced as a limited time offer, it became a permanent part of the menu in 2006.

Several years ago, the fast food chain launched a big menu revamp, including the introduction of breakfast ("First Meal"), a new Cantina menu and the national launch of Doritos Locos tacos. In 2013, another revolutionary change came with the introduction of the Cool Ranch taco shell in partnership with corn chip maker Doritos.

Taco Bell menu

Double Decker Taco Supreme, Soft Taco, Original Taco, Taco Supreme, Soft Taco Supreme, Steak Soft Taco, Double Decker Taco, Crunchwrap Supreme, Gordita, Chalupa

Nachos - Nachos and Cheese, Big Beef Nachos Supreme, Nachos BellGrande

Burritos - Chili Cheese Burrito, Bacon Cheeseburger Burrito, Chicken Club Burrito, Big Beef Burrito, Burrito Supreme, Bean Burrito, 7 Layer Burrito, Steak Burrito Supreme

Extras - Big Beef Meximelt, Pintos' n Cheese, Tostada, Taco Salad, Mexican Pizza

Sides - Sour cream, guacamole, jalapeno peppers, green sauces

More about Taco Bell around the Web:

Taco - The official site with information on current deals and promotions, menu and nutrition information, restaurant locations finder, company history and fun facts.

Taco Bell Dog - A tribute to Gidget in audio and video bites (Windows Media Player required.)

also see in Fast Food ->

  Arby's Hardee's Pizza Hut
  Burger King KFC Subway
  Chick-Fil-A McDonald's Taco Bell


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