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Random Food Report: The Taco Bell Death Star

So Taco Bell has finally caught on to taco & whiskey thing, spinning off a fast casual version of themselves complete with the now-familiar iconography of hipster Mexican.

In other words: Taco Bell Spinoff Explicitly Branded With Death Symbols.

This can't end well.

First, Taco Bell is banking on a trend, not a segment. Trends don't last.

Second, as this feature has constantly harped, there is a long history of failure by companies who don't know themselves and step outside their true brand to be something the are not. That way lies failure. It's like a jock trying to be cool, or a stoner trying to be a jock. Or in this case, a deliciously bad fast food franchise trying to be hip and even a bit more upscale. Don't.

When we think of Taco Bell, we think of making a run for the border. That resonates on multiple levels. Be who you are. Own it. Focus on what you already have - and making it the best damn version of it you can. In other words, think operationally. Sometimes that's the best place to divert your pride.

Dog House For Sale
"The Portillo Restaurant Group Inc., which describes itself as the largest privately owned restaurant company in the Midwest, has hired Piper Jaffray to explore its financial alternatives, including a sale of its fast-casual division," the Wall Street Journal reports.

"The Oak Brook, Ill.-based company's main chain, Portillo's Hot Dogs Inc., operates 38 stores that are decorated to fit themes ranging from the prohibition era through to retro. It traces its roots to a hot dog stand known as 'The Dog House' that opened in 1963 with an $1,100 investment from the company's founder, Richard J. Portillo."

Maybe they should spin off Portacos's.

Chili's Bakery
"In a corner booth this week at a Corner Bakery Cafe in Dallas, the chief executive tasted some of the newest menu offerings: buttermilk pancakes and a roasted pork sandwich with cucumbers and pickled jalapenos," the Dallas Morning News reports.

"Across the room he spotted a new manager who was handing out samples from the chain's staple of sweets.

"She and a new franchisee, who were in Dallas for training this week, will open the first of 10 franchised Corner Bakery Cafes in northeast Florida later this year.

"The additions - new food and new franchisees - form the twin planks of Corner Bakery's growth platform."

Yada, yada, yada.

But here's something I did not know: Corner Bakery (and Maggiano's) is owned by Chili's.

See, that's how Taco Bell should do it, if it feels it must expand; go into a completely different part of the market. Like, Burrito Bell. Or Taco Fish. Or Taco Bakery.

Trench Mouth
"The 3 1/3-pound Banana Split Helmet Sundae introduced by the White Sox this season was designed to be casually eaten by a family of four," DNAinfo Chicago reports.

Because it's DNAinfo and this is news.

"Pat Bertoletti obliterated it in 2 minutes, 53 seconds. Of course Bertoletti, of Pilsen, is no ordinary eater. The Morgan Park Academy and Kendall College graduate is a professional eater who holds the distinction of pounding down 55 Nathan's hot dogs in 10 minutes; 94 Krystal hamburgers in eight minutes; 21 pounds of grits in 10 minutes; 15 1/4 pounds of strawberry shortcake in eight minutes; and 275 pickled jalapeno peppers in an eight-minute stint."

Of course. But how many Taco Bell tacos can he eat in one sitting?


Bertoletti actually owns Taco in a Bag in West Dundee.


Comments welcome.


Posted on May 1, 2014

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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