UPDATE: Sept. 5, 2023: Taco Bell has shared details about its previously announced $5 million Taco Tuesday tab, per a press release. DoorDash users in the U.S. (except for those in New Jersey) can add code "TACOTAB" to orders from participating Mexican restaurants to receive $5 off qualifying orders of $15 or more. More than 20,000 restaurants are participating in a promotion tied to Taco Bell's successful efforts to liberate the Taco Tuesday trademark.
- Taco Bell is teaming with delivery platform DoorDash to pick up the tab on taco orders placed with participating Mexican food vendors on an upcoming Taco Tuesday, according to a press release.
- The festive effort follows the Yum Brands chain’s successful petition to pressure Taco John’s to relinquish the Taco Tuesday trademark. Restaurants in 49 states are now free to use the phrase, while a small business in New Jersey still holds the trademark in the state, excluding Garden State consumers from the DoorDash deal.
- Taco Bell and DoorDash have pooled $5 million that will go toward comping taco fans’ orders in the rest of the U.S. on Sept. 12. In the lead up to the event, Taco Bell is also offering free Doritos Locos Tacos to customers every Tuesday without requiring a purchase.
Taco Bell is taking a victory lap in the wake of a campaign that led competitor Taco John’s to abandon its long-held trademark over the phrase “Taco Tuesday” in 49 states. The Yum Brands marketer has described the push as a “liberation effort” seeking to open the commonly used phrase to all restaurants without fear of repercussions. Now, the company is trumpeting the benefits of its win to consumers by partnering with DoorDash to help pay for Mexican cuisine orders placed with participating vendors on Sept. 12, a Taco Tuesday.
To address skepticism that it could move to claim the Taco Tuesday trademark as its own, Taco Bell continues to position its platform as fighting for all restaurants and vendors. Taco Bell is also trying to drum up excitement and foot traffic by dishing out a free Doritos Locos Taco to customers who drop into U.S. store locations on Tuesdays in the run up to the Sept. 12 bonanza. The Doritos Locos Taco offer is not available on delivery orders excluding those placed directly in the Taco Bell app, where delivery fees and taxes apply.
“Taco Tuesday belongs to all who make, sell, eat and celebrate tacos, and this Free-For-All will not only thank taco fans who supported the cause, but will also spotlight local restaurants and vendors who can now embrace Taco Tuesdays without fear of legal action,” said Taco Bell U.S. CMO Taylor Montgomery in a press statement.
In May, Taco Bell filed legal petitions to lift the Taco Tuesday trademarks with the Trial and Appeal Board of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, arguing the term was common parlance not ownable by a single entity. Wyoming-based Taco John’s had developed a reputation for fiercely protecting its trademark, which it snagged the rights to in 1989. Taco Bell’s initiative quickly gained traction, earning an endorsement from NBA star LeBron James, who appeared in an ad for the brand where his attempts to say “Taco Tuesday” are censored.
Taco John’s initially responded to the publicity blitz with snark, putting out a press release that thanked its rival for bringing fresh attention to its brand. But in mid-July, the company abandoned the Taco Tuesday trademark, desiring to avoid what could have turned into an expensive legal fight. Taco John’s then challenged Taco Bell and other quick-service restaurants to a charity giveaway. The Yum Brands chain, through its Taco Bell Foundation, has since matched Taco John’s $40,000 donation to the Children of Restaurant Employees organization. Meanwhile, Gregory’s, a small business in New Jersey, still controls a trademark for Taco Tuesday in the Garden State.
Taco Bell parent Yum Brands missed Wall Street’s expectations on revenue in the second quarter. Taco Bell’s same-store sales were up 4% year-over-year, below estimates.