Meet the Man Behind The Bell®
Every legendary product was born from an innovative individual with a big idea. Think about all of the famous scientists and inventors of the world. Sure, these geniuses did things like inventing electricity or revolutionizing the phone, but there’s another innovation that we just truly could not live without - Taco Bell®.
Meet Glen Bell. The man, the myth, The ‘Bell’ in Taco Bell. The founder of your favorite Mexican-inspired restaurant. While he didn’t invent the taco, he did play a large role in bringing the delicious, crunchy, cheese-filled taco that you know and love straight to the mouths of the masses.
Want to know more? Let’s look at some facts that you may not know about our late founder:
First came burgers… Then came tacos.
Glen first served tacos at one of his early restaurants that actually sold hamburgers and hot dogs. He knew there was something special about the taco. After improving the efficiency of the assembly line, he figured out how to make the taco go from production to the first bite within minutes. He eventually came to serve tacos at a taco stand called Taco Tia. Glen would later come to create Taco Bell in Downey, California.
He was a proud Marine.
In 1943, Glen entered the Marine Corps to serve during World War II. After 3 years in the South Pacific, he was honorably discharged in 1946. Even when serving his country, Glen was followed by food as he worked as a food server for the first few months on duty. This was clearly not his last gig serving people.
His restaurants attracted people in high places.
His Redlands Taco Tia location was always booming with high profile celebrities and athletes. Celebs are just like us – they love their fair share of tacos.
He knew how to throw a great party.
Glen embodied the “work hard, play hard” mentality during the early days of Taco Bell. His favorite kind of party? A grand opening, of course. His parties were so extravagant that they were compared to the World’s Fair. Glen would pull out all the stops to make sure it was a party to remember including spotlights, bands, dancers, free hats – you name it. He was often caught scaling the roofs of his buildings to make sure the balloons were in the right position.
Glen originally planned on opening a mini-golf course.
Before tacos were even on his mind, Glen dreamt of one thing: mini golf. When scoping out the location for the first Bell’s Hamburgers, his mind flooded with visions of families gathering around tiny bridges and buildings while putting around colorful golf balls.
But he did fulfill his dream of creating a family attraction.
If there’s one thing that was true about Glen, it was that once he set his eyes on a dream, he went for it. Years after envisioning a magical place for families to gather, he restored and reopened the Westside & Cherry Valley Railway in Northern California, which he turned into a museum that featured vintage trains and cars. The museum ran for a year.
His legacy lives on.
Today, Taco Bell has more than 7,000 restaurants, accounting for more than 220,000 jobs and serves billions of people worldwide, which all started with Glen’s dream.