The Surprising Reason Taco Bell Got Its Name

And no, it has nothing to do with bells.

taco bellKen Wolter/Shutterstock

I always thought the famous bell from Taco Bell was because of, well, a bell. I imagined that the original restaurant had a little bell that rang when opening up the shop, similar to an ice cream truck singing down the street. My little fantasy about Taco Bell made sense for a while… until I was proved completely wrong. If you’re curious, this is how 8 other fast food restaurants got their names.

Turns out, Taco Bell received its name from the owner’s name, Glen Bell.

According to Taco Bell’s website, Glen Bell originally created Bell’s Drive-In and Taco Tia in San Bernardino, California, in 1954. It wasn’t until 1962 when the name was changed to “Taco Bell” after Bell opened a restaurant in Downey, California. His customers specifically referred to the food as “tay-kohs.” The restaurant was then franchised in 1964, and it only took three years to open 100 more. Three years after that, Taco Bell went public with a whopping 325 restaurants. What was once a tiny drive-in restaurant has become a staple fast-food chain, and is even considered one of the healthiest fast food chains.

Since the start of the first-ever Bell’s Drive-In and Taco Tia in San Bernardino, this popular fast-food chain has developed quite a diverse menu past their usual tacos. Their famous Crunchwrap Supremes, Cinnamon Twists, and Mountain Dew Baja Blast have become staples for a night at Taco Bell. They recently added Nacho Fries with a delicious cheesy dipping sauce, and of course, how could you ever forget those Doritos Locos Tacos?

Taco Bell has certainly created an empire since it’s early days in 1954, and Glen Bell must have been one proud “Taco Titan” in his day. Now, check out the very first locations of famous fast food restaurants.

Originally Published on Taste of Home

Kiersten Hickman
Kiersten is the Social Media Editor at Reader's Digest and writes for Taste of Home and The Family Handyman. She firmly believes that no matter where you go, picnics are always a good idea. Especially if it’s paired with a good book. She’s an advocate for meal prepping and passionate about living a plastic-free life.