For those non-American residents unfamiliar with this fast food franchise, let me take this opportunity to enlighten you. In its fifty years of existence, Taco Bell has achieved monumental success and currently boasts over six thousand restaurants, making it America’s sixth largest fast food chain. However the rapid expansion of competitor Chipotle casts an ominous shadow over its future, as have a number of unfortunate brand damaging occurrences. These include:
- 2011 – Salmonella outbreak.
- 2006 – Ecoli outbreak.
- A lawsuit claiming only 35% of beef in Taco Bell products is ‘real’ beef.
With typical American resilience Taco Bell are fighting back with a marketing campaign, unprecedented in its history; spearheaded by their new culinary offering, the Doritos Locos Tacos, described as ‘Taco Bell on the inside and Doritos on the outside.’
Undeterred by disease and food quality related accusations, I enter the Taco Bell premises eager to experience the Americanised Mexican fanfare; Burritos, Tacos and the like. Ignoring the promotional material for Doritos Locos Tacos screaming at me from every direction, I order Volcano Nachos (I am not a big fan of Doritos), Pintos n Cheese and a 30oz Pepsi. Moments later I am sitting at a table hastily consuming my Volcano Nachos. Admittedly they are probably essentially offal masquerading as beef, but they taste remarkably pleasant, though I suspect this is more than likely due to the success of the Cheesy Molten Hot Lava Sauce in masking anything potentially unpalatable.
Barely two minutes later I have finished both the Volcano Nachos and the Pintos n Cheese and am contentedly sipping Pepsi, whilst calculating the nutritional value of my meal as conveniently stated on the menu before me. I then proceed to compare its nutritional value to the recommended daily intake for an adult.
The calorie count is hardly surprising but I have to admit to being slightly perturbed at being nearly three times over my daily recommended sugar allowance. Sixty six grams of fat consumed in one meal is not ideal either, especially with my dinner plans. If I wasn’t before I am now convinced that Volcano Nachos probably don’t contain much in terms of what one would define as beef. However in the meal’s defence it was both appetizing and inexpensive.
On exiting the outlet I notice an Emergency Weight Loss centre, a large windowless building conveniently located barely a stone’s throw away. Briefly I consider what emergency weight loss procedures might entail but the waves of nausea bring this pattern of thought to an abrupt halt. As I return to my car, I wonder how many diners go directly from the restaurant to the weight loss centre and whether Taco Bell have considered the possibility of charging the centre commission on these clients.