Glen Bell: The Taco Bell Brand Story

I love to read about brands built by remarkable people.  Glen Bell, founder of Taco Bell,  is as remarkable as they get.

This is the inspirational story of how a man followed his dreams and built one of the world’s most iconic restaurant brands.

The Taco Bell Story in Pictures

glen bell as child with his sister

Glen Bell was born in 1923 in California (with his sister)

family moved to city springs

Glen was one of six children

glenn bell lived in a small house with his family.  he didn't like to talk about it

He lived in a small house with his poor family.

1935 - Glen Bell at 12 years old selling Gladiolas

In 1935 at age 12 Bell was selling Gladiolas to make ends meet.

on the way home - dumpster

At times, poverty forced Glen Bell to rummage through the dumpsters. This embarrassed him.

Glen Bell joins the Navy

In 1944 Glen Bell joined the Marines to fight in WWII

feeding the army

Working as a chef in the Marines taught Glen Bell how to estimate how much food to prepare, this would prove a worthwhile skill later in his career

When Glen came back from the Marines he had $1000 to start his food business

In 1946 Glen Bell came back from Military service. He had $1000 to start his food business.

Initially Glen Bell decides to open a Humburger store (Bell's Burgers)

Initially Glen Bell decided to open a Hamburger store (Bell's Burgers). He was competing head to head with McDonald's and many others. He decided to diversify...

then he discovered the Taco

that's when Glen discovered the Taco (Mexican food). This was still largely undiscovered in California.

after studying the method to create Tacos, he improved on it to make it more efficient

after studying the primitive method to create Tacos, he improved on it to make it more efficient

Grand opening of first Taco Bell

In 1962, Bell opened his first Taco Bell store in Downey California

A master marketeer, Bell hired a Mariachi group to play Mexican music outside his restaurant.  Needless to say this attracted attention  to his new venture (WOM marketing at its best!).

A master marketeer, Bell hired a Mariachi group to play Mexican music outside his restaurant. Needless to say, this attracted much needed attention to his new venture and associated his brand with Mexico. Genius!

When the Taco was first introduced to America on a commercial scale, Glen Bell had to educated customers how to eat it.  Sometimes doing it himself.

When the Taco was first introduced to America, Glen had to educated customers on how to eat it. At times doing it himself.

In 1965 Glen Bell sold his first Franchise paving the way to over 8000 stores (in the US alone) serving millions of customers everyday.  The rest is history.

In 1964 Glen Bell sold his first Franchise to Kermit Becky (ret LA policeman) paving the way to thousands of stores serving millions of customers everyday. In 1978 Bell sold his company to Pepsico for a whopping $125 million in stock. The rest -as they say- is history.

greg creed on glen bell

Greg Creed -President and CEO of Taco Bell- on Glen Bell's death in 2010.

The Glen Bell Story in More Detail (Corporate Video)

 

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  • munozkd

    My family knew this guy personally. Family man? He was a good guy. He just enjoyed spending time with young men… If you get what I mean.