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Friday, February 20, 2009


I’ve been fighting a huge craving for Taco Bell all day long. I don’t know how the idea got in my head, but I can’t seem to shake it. It’s not even so much that I want tacos or Mexican(-ish) food. In fact, I think if someone were to make a taco and put it right in front of me (ok, admittedly, I would eat it). However, there would be a part of my soul that would be entirely disappointed that it wasn’t Taco Bell.

I found the Unofficial Taco Bell Blog this afternoon. I highly recommend it, especially if you (in their words) want to know more about the "seemingly endless wonders of Taco Bell". If you are jonesing for the Bell, however, this site will do nothing but compound the problem.

Maybe part of the reason that I can’t stop thinking about it, is because Tunde is coming to Hamburg next Tuesday. And when I think Tunde, I think about the Air Force. When I think of the Air Force, I think about how the only Taco Bells in Germany are located on Air Force bases. These locations closed to the public after 9/11 and have limited access for non-military/base personnel.

Part of me (the hungry, Taco Bell craving part) wants to ask Tunde if he could just swing by the Ramstein AB and pick me up a Cheesy Gordita Crunch on his way up to Hamburg. Alas, even this would pose problems, because (unlike his last visit) Tunde is flying from Frankfurt to Hamburg rather than taking a train and he’d somehow have to smuggle the food past airport security and onto the plane. You can always re-heat a 3-hour-old Caramel Apple Empanada, but I’m not desperate enough to eat one that was transported in a Ziploc bag tucked into some body cavity or another.

In my Nachos Bellgrande-deprived state, this leads me to think that the terrorists might indeed have the upper hand.

The nearest Taco Bell on the European mainland, where I wouldn’t need some kind of military ID/government clearance to get in, is in Madrid, Spain. WTF, Taco Bell?! I would have loved to see that board meeting. Like, "Hey guys, you know who I think would be totally into the bastardized American version of Mexican food? (pause) The Spanish!" No one would expect it...



Still, it’s not quite as mindboggling as the idea to bring Taco Bell to Mexico

*facepalm*

Freaking ICELAND has two Taco Bells!

And it looks like Dubai also got one a few months back.

Even China had some Taco Bells (full service restaurants that served alcohol!) but they've closed down apparently.

So far, I’ve uncovered two theories regarding the noticeable lack of Taco Bells in Germany.

The first revolves around some kind of licensing issues, which sounds somewhat plausible:

Back in the late 90's when [Taco Bell] wanted to open in Germany there was a small resturant somewhere that held the Trademark/right to use of the word TacoBell. This old fart refused to budge or be bought out, thus [Taco Bell] was blocked from entering the Market.

Flash forward to 2000, the old fart dies and his family sell the rights the the TM to [Taco Bell]. with the stipulation that [Taco Bell] will never open a resturant in germany EXECPT for on US Military bases (Which are considered US Soil)...
Source: "Hooters comes to Germany" thread @ toytowngermany.com

That said, I take just about everything I read on an internet forum with a huge grain of salt...particularly those referring to "resturant" entrepreneurs as "old farts"

The second is some lame-ass excuse about marketing analysts discovering that Taco Bell food is not very compatible with the German palate.

As a Germany expert, knowing the Germans, 1.) for a franchise where there's little name recognition, it's a risky business venture when employee costs are so high ... 2.) Germans are unfamiliar w/the TexMex food and most likely would not be quick to adopt.
Source: Business development thread on Linkedin

However, I don’t really buy that. First of all, based on the target markets listed above, I have serious doubts regarding the competency of Yum!Brand’s marketing team in identifying regions where Taco Bell would perform well.

Market strategy = throwing feces at a map to determine the next store location.

Secondly, I admit some of the stuff that Germans find palatable can border on the seemingly "strange" sometimes, but then that should actually work in Taco Bell's favor, right? Furthermore, in many respects (maybe due to the influences of emigration?) German cuisine is probably more closely related to "American cuisine" than the other Continental European countries. Lastly, many Germans like to save money and Taco Bell is very affordable...

Where am I going with this? I don't even really know. But apparently I've been googling variations on Taco Bell and Germany/Europe and the phrase "dear god why is there no" since 9:15pm when I started this post. It is now 10:30pm.

And that's how I spent my Friday night.

7 comments:

Blog Outside The Bun! said...

Many thanks for mentioning us from over here at Blog Outside The Bun!

Oh, and you're absolutely right. Looking at Taco Bell all day makes it hard not to eat it for every meal!

The Beech said...

Looking at the Markenregister shows the following:

UG30 - Verfahren (Chronologie)
Anmeldetag: 29.11.1993
Tag der Bekanntmachung: 31.03.1994
Tag der Eintragung: 08.01.2003

So it only took 10 years for them to get the trademark. Oh btw. "Old fart" was living in Hamburg. And why would one give away the TM rights but not allow the usage for the right purpose.

Question is what is easier: Petition for relatives of "old fart" to get their mind straightened out or petition to open an AF basis in Hamburg?

The Beech said...

Oops,I'm wrong. The guys in Hamburg were some legal guys, so I guess scapegoats for one party or another...

lebrookski said...

@ Bu:

Wow. Slow work day? jk ;-)
I salute you for your researchin skillz.

"Question is what is easier: Petition for relatives of "old fart" to get their mind straightened out or petition to open an AF basis in Hamburg?"

I don't know which would be easier, but opening a base in/near Hamburg still doesn't do me that much good since I have approximately zero base privileges and would have to rely on people who do have them. I would personally prefer that those lawyer dudes in Hamburg get to work on setting up a Taco Bell on the Reeperbahn... that would be a very optimal solution for me.

Dr.U.G. said...

I think I wrote a paper for my marketing class on bring Taco Bell to Germany. Obviously Yum brands did not read my paper.

The Beech said...

Btw. you should have posted the complete entry from the self proclaimed "Germany Expert". It's a mind boggling piece of crap that makes you wonder whether after all it might be possible to get the title "Ph.D. Douchebag".

Sebster said...

i would awesome if we could get a Taco Bell!
Germany needs that!