Taco Bell

12 for ’12

Our athletes went to the Olympics, our science went to Mars, and our people went to the polls. But what of the restaurant industry in 2012? These dozen items from the year had the biggest impact on the foodservice landscape and shaped the industry for a potentially game-changing 2013.

An Economy in Flux

The economic recovery isn’t lighting a fire under anyone’s feet, but the economy did at least improve, albeit slightly.

Year of the Brand

In this last Brand New Perspectives of 2012, I’m breaking from my usual Q&A format to recap some of the most important brand developments in fast food this past year.

Despite the sluggish economy and uncertainty that typically accompanies election years, companies in our industry chose to make some of their boldest moves in 2012, and some exciting new chains took the stage. Here are my picks for the seven biggest brand stories of the year.

Fancy Fast Food

The days of dingy, dull, and outdated fast-food joints may soon be a thing of the past. Quick serves are meeting the demands of an evolving consumer base to remain competitive with the fast-casual sphere, using everything from sleek interiors with comfortable booths and flat-screen televisions to healthy, fresh food and drink offerings.

Strikes Hit the Big Apple's Largest Fast Food Chains

New Yorkers saw 200 workers on strike this week at the city’s largest fast food chains, as employees at dozens of McDonald's, Burger Kings, and Taco Bells held a one day strike to call for higher wages to support their families and the right to form a union without interference.

Taco Bells Hits Home Run with "Steal a Base, Steal a Taco"

On the heels of combining two of America’s favorite flavors to create the biggest taco launch of 2012, the Doritos Locos Tacos, Taco Bell is now pairing the spirit of its tagline “Live Mas” with one of the biggest sporting events of 2012: the Major League Baseball (MLB) World Series.

MLB and Taco Bell are teaming up to give everyone in America the chance to get the best-selling taco of 2012 for free.

Taco Bell's Feed the Beat Helps End World Hunger

Taco Bell’s Feed the Beat artists are not only passionate about tacos, but also about using their voices for good to raise awareness and donations to end world hunger.

Through October 18, the Feed the Beat program, which supports up-and-coming artists, is partnering with @TacoBell to spread the word about World Hunger Relief, the world’s largest private-sector hunger relief effort benefiting the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and other hunger relief agencies.

2012 QSR Drive-Thru Study

How the best drive-thru operations in the industry make the wheels go ’round.

Taco Bell has the second fastest drive thru in quick service.

The drive-thru operation of a quick-service restaurant may seem relatively cut and dried, but operators aren’t resting on their laurels when it comes to their outdoor business. For many brands in the industry, the drive thru can account for anywhere between 50 and 70 percent of sales—no small number in a $200 billion industry.

Drive Time

Breakfast is on a roll.

Even though most Americans prepare or eat their morning meals at home, an increasing number of them are opting for breakfast on the way to work, particularly at quick-service restaurant locations.

Nearly half of consumers visited a limited-service restaurant for their early meal last year, up from a third in 2009. So it’s no surprise that at least half a dozen quick serves launched breakfast dayparts in the past three years, while many others added new menu items.

Taco Bell Foundation Names Winners of "Camp Taco Bell"

Many Americans are unaware that one in four U.S. high school students fail to graduate in four years.

This is a statistic close to the hearts and minds of the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens and its Graduate to Go initiative, which continues to invest in America's youth by helping motivate teenagers to stay in school.

As part of the Foundation's "Camp Taco Bell" business leadership program, 90 teenagers from local Boys & Girls Clubs across Southern California teamed up with Taco Bell leadership to compete in the kitchen—developing and marketing new Taco Bell menu items.