Taco Franchise Says R.I.P. To Mr. Bell
The founder of Taco Bell passed away over the weekend, and stomachs across the land were upset over the news. Glen W. Bell, Jr., 86, died Sunday night at his home in the exclusive San Diego County enclave of Rancho Santa Fe, the Irvine company announced. He joins the chain's chihuahua mascot under the arches of that big Taco Bell in the sky. (Perhaps he'll be resurrected, like the enchirito).
Bell, a former Marine, is said to have started the chain after tiring of ordering tacos for take out from local Mexican restaurants in San Bernardino. In the 1950s he became a partner in a small taco stand enterprise called Taco Tias and later he started a place called El Tacos in Long Beach. In 1962 he established the first Taco Bell in Downey in 1962. A Los Angeles police officer is said to have opened the first franchise two years later.
He sold out to Pepsi in 1978. The company, now owned by Yum Brands, Inc., boasts that Taco Bell serves more than two billion tacos a year in the United States.
"Glen Bell was a visionary and innovator in the restaurant industry, as well as a dedicated family man," stated Greg Creed, president of Taco Bell. "His innovative business acumen started out of humble beginnings and created one of the nation's largest restaurant chains in Taco Bell. Mr. Bell introduced an entire nation to the taco and Mexican cuisine."
He also introduced them to ... indigestion. And diarrhea ... We're just kideen. We have fond memories of his crunchy tacos and custom-built, arched outlets. We still get a kick out of spotting some of the old original, brick-style Taco Bells, many of which have since been taken over by other entrepreneurial hopefuls trying to sell America on the taco.
She is sold, thanks to Mr. Bell.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss LA Weekly's biggest stories.