Taking the Taco to the Masses: Taco Bell

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John Gorman was the first Chief Operating Officer of Taco Bell. He remembers how difficult it was to sell tacos in Southern California in the 1960's. Customers were not familiar with the product and he had to hire staff to teach customers how to eat the tacos. At first, most customers would try to eat them like sandwiches, turned on their side. He says Glenn Bell, founder of Taco Bell, was a genius.

Before he opened Taco Bell, Glen Bell operated a burger stand across the street from Mitla Cafe on Route 66 in San Bernadino. Lucy Reyes has been a waitress at Mitla Cafe for 70 years and still remembers Glen Bell coming into drink coffee with the owners of the cafe in the early 50's. According to Gustavo Arellano, Bell learned to make Taco Bell's signature hard shell tacos in the Mitla Cafe kitchen.


Glen Bell at the take-out window



Check out the menu -- and those prices!

Music: "Ja Da" by Roy Eldridge, "La Bamba" by Paco de Lucia and "Baby I Need Your Loving" by The Four Tops