Back in 1974 a good friend and I were working in the restaurant industry. Taco Bell was a huge success in California, and I thought it would be great if we could bring Taco Bell to eastern United States. I mentioned this to my friend who was from Wilkes Barre, PA, and he said, “They wouldn’t even know how to eat a taco.” (Implying it was a bad idea.)
The closest Taco Bell to our house was about 10 miles away near the intersection of Auburn and Madison in North Sacramento. My dad who had come to California before we moved there from Idaho, raved about this place where you could get anything on the menu for 19 cents and drinks for 25 cents. The menu was simple:
- Burrito (with hot (red) or mild (green) sauce)
- Bell Burger (a bun with taco meat on it)
That was it. $1 would get you change and 3 tacos and a drink. You could feed a family of four for under $5. That was 1968.
So, by the time 1974 rolled around, this 18 year old was thinking about what to do with his future and I thought it would be great to save up some money with my buddy and buy a franchise or two in Pennsylvania, New York or somewhere in the northeastern USA. But, my friend didn’t think it would take off.
Now I live in that area and Taco Bells are few and far apart. The nearest ones to us are 12 miles away. There are probably 6 McDonald’s for every Taco Bell in the area. While I’ve been to a packed McDonald’s, there is seldom a line at Taco Bell.
This afternoon Elizabethe had an appointment down in Canandaigua and I went with her. After her appointment, since we were close to a Taco Bell, we stopped there for dinner.
There were as many employees as there were people eating there. I ordered a crunchy taco and some nachos. The crunchy tacos haven’t changed much since the time when they cost 19 cents. Now they are a $1 more. The menu has expanded greatly. You can get a crunchy taco, a crunchy taco supreme, a crunchy taco with steak or chicken, a soft taco, and so on. It is ADHD overload just looking at the menu.
I’m not sure how well Taco Bell franchises are doing in this area, but I will say the food at Taco Bell is better than most so-called Mexican Restaurants I’ve tried here. (There is a good one up in Sodus that serves authentic Mexican food, but many of the others… not so good.)
I’m actually glad I didn’t go in to the restaurant business, but it is fun to reminisce about the days when I wanted to bring Taco Bell to the Northeastern United States.
In the meantime, I’m lobbying
to bring the Big America Burger to USA McDonalds. 200 grams of ground top sirloin on a sesame seed bun. It’s a two-fisted burger that makes the Burger King Whopper look small. Yeah… so it cost $13-17 (US) for a Big America, fries and a drink. It beats any fast-food burger we serve here.
Eating a Big America Burger at McD’s in Tiberias, Israel
It’s hard to believe tomorrow is the year’s end. 2016 will be interesting given the political climate in this country. I’m ready to close the door on 2015. Life goes on.