Taco Bell began in 1962 as a single restaurant run by Glen Bell.
By 1978 there were hundreds of franchises and the chain was sold to PepsiCo.
Executives used social media savvy and partnerships with other brands to make the chain iconic. 

Taco Bell is celebrating its 60th anniversary in March, but it hasn’t always been the fast-food powerhouse it is today.Taco bell

Before founding Taco Bell, Glen Bell was already deep in the fast-food business. In 1951 he sold hard-shelled tacos at Bell’s Hamburgers and Hot Dogs, and also operated Bell’s Drive In.

Source: Encyclopedia Brittanica

Bell frequented a small Mexican restaurant across the street from his own business, Mitla Cafe. He sought to recreate the restaurant’s popular tacos.

Source: Insider

In 1962, Bell opened the first Taco Bell in Downey, California.

Source: Taco Bell

The original menu sold just five items for 19 cents each.Taco Bell’s original menu from the 1960s.

Source: Insider

Two years later, the first Taco Bell franchise was opened in Torrance, California.

Source: Taco Bell

The chain grew quickly, and the 100th Taco Bell opened in 1967 just five years after Bell opened the first restaurant.

Source: Taco Bell

By the 1970s, the menu had grown to include tostadas and enchiritos, a combination of burritos and enchiladas that hinted at Taco Bell’s future menu innovations.The menu from a Taco Bell in San Anselmo in 1973.

Source: Insider

In 1970, Taco Bell had 375 locations across the West Coast, and Bell took it public.

Source: Encyclopedia Britannica 

Locations had nearly tripled again by 1978 when Bell sold to PepsiCo for about $125 million.Customers line up at a Taco Bell restaurant inside Miami International Airport in Miami.

Source: Encyclopedia Britannica 

In the 1980s, Taco Bell was expanding outside the West Coast and establishing its Mexican fast-food offerings as different than other burger chains, with the Taco Salad Taco BellGrande.

Source: Insider

In 1988, the chain introduced the Mexican Pizza, which was a beloved menu item until it was discontinued in 2020, and still has dedicated fans clamoring for its return.Taco Bell’s Mexican Pizza.

Source: Insider

Taco Bell launched its value menu in 1990 with items …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

Taco Bell went from a single California restaurant to an iconic global chain in 60 years. Here’s how it made tacos a billion-dollar business.

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