In the early 1960s, when burger stands were sprouting up all over Southern California, Glen Bell refused to follow the trend. Thinking Outside the Bun, he invented Mexican-inspired fast food and launched Taco Bell in 1962.
By 1967, there were 100 Taco Bell restaurants. With business booming, Taco Bell became a publicly traded company in 1970, with over 325 restaurants across the U.S. In the years that followed, Taco Bell innovations such as the value menu, free drink refills, Gorditas, Chalupas, and Double Decker Tacos re-defined value, tastes and textures in fast food.
Famous for our unique, Mexican inspired food, Taco Bell's Think Outside Bun personality has also inspired some memorable promotions and pranks. In 2000, we ran a full-page "April Fools" ad in the New York Times to announce we had purchased the historic Liberty Bell and renamed it the "Taco Bell Liberty Bell." The following year, we offered everyone in the U.S. a free taco if the falling Russian Mir Space Station hit our floating target in the middle of the South Pacific.
Today, we have over 5800 Taco Bell restaurants in the U.S., Canada, Guam, Cypress, Greece, Spain, Philippines, United Kingdom, Puerto Rico, United Arab Emirates, India, and the Dominican Republic. More than two billion tacos and one billion burritos are served in Taco Bell restaurants each year.
What started as a single Taco Bell restaurant has become one of the most loved quick serve restaurant brands of all time.