An Open Letter To Taco Bell: This Is About “Taco Dinner Kits”

image - Flickr / Steven Depolo
image – Flickr / Steven Depolo

Dear Taco Bell:

Last night my wife and I planned a taco night for dinner. It wasn’t Tuesday, but honestly, I’m feeling a little over the whole Taco Tuesday thing. Why should tacos be limited to just one day of the week? Is it really that important that taco and Tuesday both start with a T? And Tuesday kind of sucks anyway, as a day, it’s probably the worst day out of the whole week. The previous weekend and all the fun that came along with it is by now a distant memory, and the only thing you really have to look forward to is Wednesday, itself only celebrated for marking the halfway point of another miserable workweek.

I’m way off topic already. I went to the grocery store for some taco supplies: ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, I haven’t made tacos in a while, but I didn’t want anything too Mexican. American tacos were my goal here, crunchy yellow shells, shredded yellow cheese, you know, Taco Bell style tacos.

And wouldn’t you know it, I made a turn right down the “ethnic” aisle at the grocery store and right there, right next to the giant bags of Tostitos chips and jars of Del Monte salsa, I found a box, a Taco Bell box. It said, “Taco Dinner Kit.” Bingo. That’s what I thought at least, bingo, here’s a one-stop Taco Bell taco shopping experience.

I looked at the instructions: “Just add ground beef and toppings.” And I kind of felt a little deflated. Because what is a taco without meat and toppings? It’s apparently the contents of your “Taco Dinner Kit” box, it’s some shells, a couple of packets of Taco Bell sauce, and a spice packet. It’s nothing.

And to make matters worse, I looked at the instructions printed on the side of the box, you’re telling me I need eight ounces of Kraft shredded cheddar cheese, one container of Breakstone’s sour cream. I’m sorry, Taco Bell, but if you’re not going to provide me with the tools I need to get the job done, you’ve ceded any position in which you’re going to tell me what brands I should buy to make my own tacos.

Look, I’m not suggesting you try to make your product something it’s not. I’m trying to imagine the logistical hurdles of including shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, grated cheese and sour cream to your box. You’d have to keep some of the ingredients refrigerated, and would the corn tortillas lose their crunch in the fridge? Like I said, it sounds like a lot of work.

But to call what you sold me a kit, it just comes across as disingenuous. How about just calling it, “Taco Shells.” The sauce? Don’t bother. You give that stuff away for free by the fistful every time I visit a Taco Bell location, and so there are always some spare Milds or Hots floating around my kitchen somewhere. The taco seasoning, what is it really, salt? Cumin? Just throw it in for free and don’t mention it.

And I get it, you put everything in a big box, you make it look really official. I just feel a little duped, is all. I can’t see inside, and so how can I tell if my crunchy hard taco shells are intact inside of that box? These particular shells actually made it to my house OK, but that’s not the point. How was I to know? I had to take a leap of faith, just kind of taking your word for it that the shells had made it in one piece from production to my kitchen, and I really don’t need that type of low-level stress when all I’m trying to do is prepare a really casual Taco Thursday.

In closing, I hope you don’t take this the wrong way. I’m a Taco Bell guy through and through, I stand by your products and, in the future, if I’m ever thinking about making tacos again, I want to let you know that Taco Bell brand taco products are still on my short list of preferred purchases. Having said that, I see plenty of opportunities for improvement. Get rid of the whole misleading “Taco Kit” verbiage. Maybe make the shells a little bigger. Maybe offer me some Doritos Locos taco shells. That would be awesome.

Taco Bell, I love you, your restaurants stand as a model for what American fast food strives to be. Your grocery store offering, however, well … just think about it, this is just something to consider, is all.


Rob Gunther Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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