On the fast-food Mount Rushmore, you have McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, and of course, everyone’s favorite, Taco Bell. But rumors have fans of this chain worrying, is Taco Bell closing?
With its legendary menu including the Cheesy Gordita Crunch, Beefy Five-Layer Burrito, endless customizable options, a vast array of hot sauces, cinnatwists, and a drink dispenser containing its custom flavor of Mountain Dew (Baja Blast), the fast-food juggernaut is a favorite for not only lunch and dinner, but now our guilty pleasure for breakfast as well.
Taco Bell’s 90s nostalgia, with its iconic logo, colors, and interior design, has been flooding the internet recently. But with it came circulating rumors that the fast-food empire would be closing its doors. Many of us had a quick gasp, then turned to the internet to find out whether the news is true.
Let’s put aside the nostalgia (but just for a moment) and take a look at where the rumors came from to see if there is any validity in them.
So, is Taco Bell Actually Closing?
Breathe easy crunchwrap lovers, the fast-food chain will not be closing down anytime soon. In fact, the chain appears to be doing quite well.
According to Nation’s Restaurant News, Taco Bell has seen a 3% growth within a single quarter since the rumors came out. This is attributed to adding delivery options to their service packages and bringing back fan-favorite menu items. They have also added many mouthwatering new items to their menu, such as the nachos party-pack.
Through clever marketing and reward culture, Taco Bell successfully maintains its reputation as the “fun” and “young” fast-food brand. For instance, just before the pandemic, the restaurant opened a pop-up resort and hotel in Palm Springs, California.
They also promised free tacos if the Mir Space Station hit a particular reentry target (they didn’t), or in sports cities where a team scores enough points.
All of this has helped the fast-food restaurant maintain a positive and trusting image that keeps the hungry coming back with a smile. And whether it be your not-so-secret guilty pleasure, the chain has also cultivated a culture of being an “in-style” choice compared to its competitors.
So with all of this, how did all of this lead to rumors that Taco Bell was closing?
Where Did These Rumors Come From?
It all started at the end of 2020. A media outlet called Money Pop claimed that Taco Bell was wrapping up business for good and closing its doors.
As with any internet rumor, the suggestion turned to panic quickly. Taco Bell goers went to the Google search bar in hopes of finding reassurance that their favorite menu items aren’t gone forever.
In the end, the rumor was simply that—a rumor. It began due to confusion over an advertisement Money Pop was promoting on its social media pages. When readers clicked on it, they found out that Taco Bell was not in fact closing, but simply that the fast-food restaurant was losing profits, yet at a fast rate.
Will It Close in the Future?
Taco Bell was quick to clear up the miscommunication. The company assured the public that they would not be closing, at least not anytime soon.
The brand also clarified that they were not losing money at alarming rates, as the Money Pop ad had insinuated, and that the company and its sister (KFC and Pizza Hut) and parent companies (Yum Brands) were doing quite well at the time.
Not only that, but Taco Bell was actually outperforming their sister companies.
Since the rumors gained traction, Taco Bell had several wins, including launching their “Go Mobile” stores all across the United States. Go Mobile locations allow customers to order and collect food quickly and easily through the Taco Bell Go Mobile application.
Typically, there are multiple drive-thrus at these locations to slash wait times and ensure speedy service.
Since then, Taco Bell’s leadership has continued to grow, staying relevant and feeling fresh to their customers. The brand’s key to success has been its aim to be as innovative as possible.
But the rumors not only affected Taco Bell, and also claimed that other companies were closing as well.
Other Restaurant Closings
When the ads implied that Taco Bell was closing, they weren’t just stopping with one restaurant. Other massive food chains, such as Olive Garden, Sbarro, The Cheesecake Factory, Steak ‘n Shake, Red Robin, Burger King, and IHOP faced similar rumblings of shutting down completely.
These restaurants had a similar reaction to Taco Bell, and many of them put water on the flames quickly. They are all still around today, confirming that the rumors are false.
Even though none of these companies were going anywhere entirely, some restaurant chains were not as lucky during the Covid pandemic and saw a steep decrease in sales during that time.
Pizza Hut closed more than 300 locations but has not gone out of business, and in fact, has seen growth in 2021. IHOP, Chuck E Cheese, and Dave and Buster’s also had to close many of their locations due to hits from the pandemic and labor shortages.
Despite overcoming rumors that their restaurants were closing, Taco Bell has navigated the pandemic well so far. They’ve even innovated within the fast-food marketplace in this time.
But that work continues as new challenges are constantly presented to companies like theirs every day, from new quarantines to labor shortages to health-consciousness.
It’s also clear that internet rumors can have serious impacts, and before responses are available or any hard facts are given, these rumors can quickly get out of hand. Or worse, they can come from simple advertisement confusions as Taco Bell has seen.
But for now, rest assured that your favorite fast-food restaurant, Taco Bell, is keeping its lights on, and keeping its fans “living mas.”