Taco Bell Co-Opts Dia de los Muertos to Market New “High-End” Tacos

In a surprising turn that's about five years too late, Taco Bell–home to the Doritos Loco taco, the enchirito, and “beef”–has announced they're going the Chipotle route and opening a new chain of fast-casual restaurants. U.S.A Taco Co. (geez, I wonder where they got THAT name from…) will offer multicultural tacos that call out various regional American favorites. Philly cheesesteak taco? Why not. Lobster roll taco? Sure. Brisket taco? Been there, done that, but whatever floats your horchata.

It's not surprising the Bell would try to cash in on the multi-culti taco craze–that's not offensive. What IS offensive, though, is U.S.A Taco's logo and apparent design scheme: based on Día de los Muertos, the Mexican religious holiday that American hipsters have annoyingly, terribly embraced as their own in their ever-desperate attempts to be “authentic.”


“Taco Bell is Mexican inspired. U.S. Taco is American inspired,” Greg Creed, Taco Bell CEO told Nation's Restaurant News, and scratch your head on THAT one. Even on the Dia de los Muertos bit, Creed is years late: bad hipster Mexican restaurants in Los Angeles have been using Day of the Dead themes for years. And hipster taco chains in general have already been established, between Pink Taco and Pinche Tacos, chains whose names I thought pushed the boundaries of taste when it came to appropriating Mexican concepts until U.S. Taco came around.

So the question I have for Creed is: why? Why base your new chain's design scheme on Dia de los Muertos? Do you think such a scheme somehow makes you more “authentic” and differentiates U.S. Taco as being “hip”, as opposed to Taco Bell's plebeian paradise? Do you really think Mexicans are going to be fine with this (like they weren't with Disney's efforts to trademark the name), or do you just not care about non-stoner Mexicans?

The first U.S. Taco opens in–where else?–Huntington Beach this summer. Heaven help us all…

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