Taco Bell founder Glen Bell passed away on Sunday at the age of 86. Bell opened his first restaurant in 1948 and launched Taco Bell in 1962. Taco Bell, now owned by Yum! Brands, is the largest Mexican fast-food chain in the US. Every week, it feeds more than 36.8 million people. In honor of Glen Bell's passing, Eating Our Words gives you our top five most memorable Taco Bell moments.
1. "Yo Quiero Taco Bell": Who could forgot that Chihuahua? In 1997, Taco Bell debuted Gidget, the talking Chihuahua, for its new commercials. The spot had had everyone saying, "Yo quiero taco bell." In 1998, the chain followed up with a plush Chihuahua toy. This advertising campaign later won Taco Bell a Grand Effie, an advertising award presented by the American Marketing Association. Later, Taco Bell was sued by two men who alleged that Taco Bell did not pay them for the use of the Chihuahua character. The company lost.
2. The Gordita:In 1998, Taco Bell introduced the Gordita to the American public. The grilled Mexican flatbread taco attempted to replicate the authentic gorditas sold in Mexico for years. They were first available in three flavors for 99 cents - Supreme, Fiesta and Santa Fe. In 2001, Taco Bell introduced the new Cheesy Gordita Crunch. The new three-cheese-and-beef Gordita was wrapped around Taco Bell's signature crunchy taco. It's fast-flood gluttony at its finest.
3. The Fast-Food Combo Restaurants: Remember when you had to either pick one fast food place or drive to multiple locations? Not any more. Now, you can drive through a Taco Bell/Pizza Hut combo and get tacos and pizza. Or, if you feel like fried chicken and tacos, drive through a Taco Bell/KFC combo. No more fighting over which place to go: It's all under one roof now, thanks to Yum! Brands.
4. Fergie Shout-out: In her song "Glamorous," Fergie "keeps it real" by still visiting the Taco Bell drive-thru even after becoming famous. To thank Fergie, the ultimate fan, Taco Bell opened up one of its restaurants for her and all her closest friends after one of her concerts, providing all with free Extreme Cheese and Beef Quesadillas.
5. Drive-thru Diet: The newest craze to hit Taco Bell locations is the Taco Bell Drive-thru Diet. The commercial features Christine Dougherty, a Taco Bell customer who claims to have lost 54 pounds on the new diet menu. That menu features seven offerings, all between 150 and 350 calories.