The secret world of Taco Bell's development kitchens

Originally published at: The secret world of Taco Bell's development kitchens | Boing Boing


Never found a significant American chain that knows much about Mexican food. There is SO much more, and better.


Kentucky Taco Hut!


I’ve never eaten Taco Bell and I can’t imagine I ever will

Why does this sound like seriously smug humblebrag?


As mentioned in the linked New Yorker article, Conan O’Brien visited the Taco Bell test kitchen a few years back:


I never understood why this wasn’t a thing. Since they are all owned by the same parent, why couldn’t you have epic cross overs like:

-A real Pizza Hut Mexican pizza
-A burrito with KFC chicken
-A KFC chicken pizza with Taco Bell hot sauce

Yeah, I get the logistics of it, but if Pizza Hut can’t get people in the door due to everyone else taking a slice of their pie…well you might as well combine all three stores into one and save on rent. Taco Bell is the only one I’ve been to with any regularity and the local Pizza Hut closed a couple years ago.

To be fair to Pizza Hut, I do have fond memories of it from my childhood. The first date with my wife was there, and we had it for dinner on our wedding night (early afternoon wedding, so lunch was at the reception).


“I’ve got it! We put a burrito inside a taco… inside another burrito!”


Aka Yum Brands


There was the factoid that menu items are designed to be assembled (not really cooked, because the ingredients are pre-cooked) in about a minute. So you get your gratification fast, and they’ve engineered their items to be tasty. But I’m still not a fan. It’s mostly Mexican-adjacent, rather than Mexican. Personally I don’t mind waiting ten minutes at a taqueria for someone to actually cook and prepare my food, and I like the result better.


They actually did a test run of this very thing at Ohio State; they called it “All-In-One.” I haven’t been back for years, so I don’t know if it’s still going. They also had the first 2 story McDonald’s I ever saw.


Only in part. The contributor doesn’t live in the US, so Taco Bell access is limited. Saying they never will does sound like an unwillingness to try, though. To each their own, but I like to leave my food possibilities open. Even if I end up not liking it, at least I know for sure.

Taco Bell holds a special place in my family’s heart (or stomach) due to being one of the only places open late at night after late evening hospital visits during my wife’s first pregnancy. It’s still tasty protein, and the price was fair for a grad student and someone just beginning in their career. It’s often better to hold higher priorities than food snobbery.


Good article! There’s a lot that goes into fast food, including technology and innovation. The convenience and (generally) lower price make it easy to dismiss. But these people work hard to make things we consume.

The innovation of the crunchwrap is particularly interesting to me, especially since it was my favorite menu item for a while. It was made to be consumed while driving. I’m just not comfortable with that as a premise. Snack and drink while driving, sure, if you must; but not something that’s not exactly designed to be put down. Plus it’s not the ideal vessel for taco sauce, especially not while driving. I mean, who goes to Taco Bell and doesn’t indulge in saucing up their items with tasty spices and MSG? It’s overall a brilliant concept, even if it is just a flat crunchy burrito.


you know those sunglasses compartment in the roof above the rear view mirror? perfect crunchy taco holder on-the-go!



Re: Taco Bell
Haven’t eaten there is a while, but their tacos [like Jack in the Box tacos] are an occasional yearning; I much prefer making my own.

Got a couple of Real Taco Joints within walking distance, when I don’t feel like cooking.

EDIT: clarity


Taco Bell was always a big treat when I was a poor 20 something working in other restaurants. They were open when I got off work and cheap enough I could get a sack of burritos and tacos and afford to feel like I had a feast. I don’t consider them any cuisine except “Taco Bell.”


Around here, GTA Ontario, Taco Bell is paired with KFC, and both are pallid lifeless expensive versions of what they were.

The main problem is that they’re supporting two menus, both with far too much stuff on them. They don’t have the room for proper assembly, each order is built as a one-off, and the staff get in each others’ way, especially because they have all those different menu items to keep straight.

They need to take a weed-wacker to the menu, and get it down to a few items that they can make good, fast and hot.


Two tales, would you say…?
“It was the best of burgers, it was the worst of burgers, it was the age of factory farmed beef, it was the age of lab grown “beyond beef,” it was the age of dipping fries in milkshakes, it was also the age of dipping fries in milkshakes…”

(Dang, that intro is longer than I recalled.)


I have eaten at a Taco Bell a grand total of once!

The reason: it took 45 minutes for my meal to come out. 45 MINUTES!!!

Seriously guys, you have one job: fast food. you failed!

The food was meh, but I was expecting that, it’s takeway.