Taco Bell is Going to Launch a Fancy New Upscale Version of Itself

In Depth

Taco Bell is set to launch a fancy new fast-casual version of itself and holy crap I can’t even finish typing this sentence without bursting into tears of joyous laughter.

Apparently, the chain is set to roll out under the name US Taco Co. and Urban Taproom, or as everyone else in America will call it, That Is Just Adorable, Taco Bell. Seriously, “Urban Taproom?” Do you even upscale? You don’t get to transform the chain best known for filling their products with Soylent Brown into a SoHo wine lounge purely through the magic of verbiage.

Menu items will include the “Winner Winner,” incorporating a fried chicken breast and gravy (because nothing says “fancy” to Americans like fried foods slathered in meat juice) and the “One Percenter,” with fresh lobster and garlic butter, cabbage slaw, and pico de gallo (I kind of want it, but I also feel like Taco Bell + lobster can only = tragedy). The menu is also apparently going to include steak fries, craft beer, and milkshakes. Vegas is refusing to take bets on whether at least one of those items will be described as “artisanal” on the final menu.

Taco Bell CEO Greg Creed had this to say:

Creed said U.S. Taco Co. was born of a segmentation study conducted on Taco Bell that revealed a fairly large demographic that was not likely to use quick-service restaurants at all. Rather than spend millions trying to lure those potential diners into Taco Bell, Creed’s team decided to design a new concept that would appeal to that demographic, which includes an eclectic mix of generally higher-income foodies who are “edgy in how they live their lives but not necessarily in how they eat,” he said.

So…hipsters. You’re trying for hipsters.

Look, this isn’t the smartest plan, Taco Bell; if you’re after the hipster demo, your best bet is to wait until they all decide to ironically start eating at REGULAR Taco Bell (there’s a 100% chance of this happening at some point). There’s a restaurant next to my apartment (a very popular and, it needs to be said, very good restaurant) that proudly proclaims on its chalkboard menu (of COURSE it has a chalkboard menu): “No Credit Card, No Reservations, No Phone.” It’s worth noting that this restaurant uses Micros machines, so they are absolutely equipped for credit card transactions. You can’t compete with un-self-aware douchebaggery like that, Taco Bell. You just can’t. You’re the guys who decided to figure out what would happen if you genetically merged Tacos and Doritos. Shifting gears that hard out of your wheelhouse is like asking Patton Oswalt to play in the NFL; it would be painful to watch and we might lose an American treasure in the process.

OK, OK — I don’t want to rag on Taco Bell too much. I really do love everything about this story. I love the earnestness with which Taco Bell thinks this is a good idea; it’s like watching a puppy try to jump over a fence where you just KNOW it can’t make the leap, but it’s going to be really funny to watch it try. And I would absolutely eat at this place, as long as I could stomach the hipster pretension. But I really don’t think this is going to end well for them.

Image via Rob Wilson/Shutterstock.

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