Monday, August 13, 2012

Taco Bell? Gourmet?

My mom stopped being a stay-at-home mom and went to work in an office about a mile from home when I was in the 7th grade or so.   She said that she never had to look at the clock to know when school was out for the day.  Her phone would ring off the hook, with calls that went something like, "Mom, ____ keeps hitting me for no reason!"  Sometimes she would hear, "______ just broke the glass in the back door!"  And once, she got the call of, "______ is setting toys on fire in the garage!"  Good times.

The one thing I did like about my mom working was when I got to stay home sick.  I don't remember ever being all that ill when I was a kid, but I remember staying home.  Mom would leave me home by myself, then call to take my lunch order.  Every single time I would ask for tacos from Taco Bell.  I loved those things.  Still get a hankerin' for them every once in a while.  I always just pretended that the grease dripping through the shell was their secret taco sauce.  The lettuce and cheese made them healthy, right?

I have eaten tacos from Taco Bell maybe 5 times in the past 20 years, so I'm not all up on their menu these days.  However, I had to laugh my full head off at the commercial I saw for their new chicken salad menu item.  If you have not seen it, you can see it here

From what I remember, the folks who work at Taco Bell are an average of 17 years old.  The vast majority of them are not working there because of their passion for food.  They do not have aspirations of being great chefs in fine restaurants.  By and large, they are high school kids looking to earn some spending money.  Maybe even to save for a car or college.  By and large, they are kids who scoop some meat into a shell, throw on some toppings, and quickly wrap it in the label paper in such a way as to show everyone which greasy menu item is inside. 

Apparently, Taco Bell is trying to change its image.  They have a chef who has come up with a new, healthy salad option.  In the commercial, it shows this chef expertly removing the corn from the cob.  It shows her chopping herbs and sprinkling them into the rice before she carefully and lovingly stirs them together.  She made guacamole from scratch.  And that's when I laughed.

This from a company whose previous new item included a Dorito taco shell.  Seems like Taco Bell is having themselves one heck of an identity crisis.

I just can't see the 17 year olds in Taco Bells all across the US of A taking the same great care with the ingredients as the chef did.  I know it won't get any loving stirs, let alone fresh chops and sprinkles.  

But also, have the Taco Bell people taken a good, hard look at their demographic?  It isn't me, and certainly not the Overholts, but from what I've seen, it isn't made of people worried about their health.  When you make the choice to eat at Taco Bell, it is not because you think it will help your waistline or your heart issues.   And it certainly isn't made of people looking for fine dining.  Basically, people are going there because everything on the menu tastes eerily similar to everything else on the menu.  And they like "Mexican" food.  (Another laugh.  At least I haven't seen Taco Bell claiming that folks from Mexico go there for the Mexican food like Olive Garden claims Italians go there for the Italian food.  Oh, those commercials crack me up, too.)

But who am I to say an image change can't be done?

Domino's was able to change their image.  McDonald's managed to get a few healthy items on their menu. 

Dream big and all that jazz.

More power to them.  I'm all for people making healthier choices (not that the salad is the picture of good, healthy eating.  There are plenty of unhealthy aspects to it.)  Broadening their horizons. 

Who knows, maybe someday, when one of my kids is home from school with some mild illness, he'll ask only for a Cantina Bowl.  And because I love him, I'll run out to buy it.  I'll then watch a 17 year old boy carve the chicken, cut the corn from the cob, chop the herbs, stir the rice, and lovingly place the ingredients in a to-go bowl for me.

Yeah, the image still makes me laugh.

Have a lovely day!


  1. Hahahahah Yeah No More TACO BELL for this family!!! But if you do take an order for the "bell" than don't let him eat it in the car. Hahahah
    I too saw that comercial and wondered which taco bell all the food was going to be so carefully made, certianly NOT the taco bell we stopped at in VA.
    Thanks for the shout out-link up!


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