The original Taco Bell restaurant location in Downey moved to Irvine late Thursday night.
The first Taco Bell was opened in 1962 and the iconic building was nicknamed "Numero Uno." Now, the fast food chain has more than 6,000 stores worldwide.
After talks it could be demolished, it was decided the building would be moved to Taco Bell's headquarters in Irvine.
The building, no larger than a two-car garage, was lifted onto a truck and driven 47 miles through the night.
Taco Bell said it will leave the fate of the building up to the fans who could choose to turn it into a museum, a new franchise or something else entirely.
From Orange County Register:
Taco Bell is saving its first fast-food restaurant from the wrecking ball by relocating the iconic 400-square-foot food stand from Downey to its corporate headquarters in Irvine.
“This is arguably the most important restaurant in our company’s history,” said Taco Bell Chief Executive Brian Niccol. “When we heard about the chance of it being demolished, we had to step in. We owe that to our fans; we owe that to Glen Bell.”
Earlier this year, new development for the vacant Firestone Boulevard site triggered demolition plans for the nostalgic building, dubbed “Numero Uno.” An uproar in the community followed. Taco Bell remained relatively quiet, though it did encourage the #SaveTacoBell campaign on social media.
Behind the scenes, however, the chain had been scheming for months to save the structure, famous for its adobe-style archways.
Taco Bell founder Glen Bell opened the Downey restaurant in 1962. The walk-up window was surrounded by shops, live music and fire pits. Glen Bell wanted the Taco Bell to look as if it was selling authentic tacos, thus early buildings sported slump stone, arches and tan brick to resemble an adobe house. Most of these early Taco Bell structures have been converted to other uses.
Taco Bell eventually scrapped the look because it needed to build locations with drive-throughs. The Downey restaurant, at 7126 Firestone Blvd., closed as a Taco Bell in 1986. Since then the site has been home to various taqueria shops. It’s been vacant since 2014.
Long Beach-based We Are the Next, a preservation group, has been working with Taco Bell on the relocation effort.
“This building isn't designed by a famous architect, and it’s not particularly beautiful in the conventional sense. But it does demonstrate how even the most ordinary buildings can tell tremendous stories,” said Katie Rispoli, the preservation group’s executive director.
Taco Bell said the building will remain at its headquarters in storage until a future use is determined.
Marisa Thalberg, chief brand engagement officer, said the fast-food chain will turn to social media to ask fans what the company should do with the building.
“This isn’t a decision that should be made in a boardroom, but a social experience that can allow our biggest fans to truly be a part of Taco Bell history,” Thalberg said.
Bell, along with Ray Kroc of McDonald’s, Carl Karcher of Carl’s Jr. and Harry Snyder of In-N-Out Burger, are considered fast-food pioneers. Their innovative takeout counters and drive-throughs catered to the growing Southern California car culture.
Taco Bell isn’t the only fast-food brand looking to honor its past.
In early 2014, In-N-Out Burger unveiled a 100-square-foot replica of its first burger stand. The Baldwin Park food stand opened in 1948 and was later demolished when I-10 was built.
Preservationist Rispoli said by saving structures like the first Taco Bell in Downey, “We hope to set a precedent and demonstrate the great power that can come from unexpected histories in seemingly ordinary places.”
From Business Insider:
McDonald's is installing digital menu boards at restaurants nationwide that will make food recommendations based on the weather.
When it's cold out or raining, for example, the digital menus might recommend heartier meals and hot drinks.
"It can monitor temperature outside and it will know which products sell better at hotter or colder temperatures and promote those products," McDonald's US President Mike Andres said at an investor meeting in New York City on Tuesday.
The boards will show moving images of McDonald's food to better engage customers and bring their attention to certain products.
Andres said customers ended up spending more on every transaction in restaurants where the new menu boards were tested in Canada.
In addition to the weather, the menu boards will also track the time of day to promote breakfast products in the morning, then switch over to lunch, dinner, and snack items at the appropriate times.
The menu boards will be installed at all US restaurants by the end of next year.
Andres also provided an update on the company's all-day breakfast launch, saying more than 15% of purchases outside of the morning time now include breakfast items.