An Open Letter to Taco Bell
I have been a regular Taco Bell customer now for 30 years. As a kid I'd ride my bicycle 15 miles to the nearest Taco Bell. I'd purchase and consume 5 to 7 bean burritos, a large pop and a dozen or so packages of hot sauce.. At 27 cents apiece I'll admit that your company didn't make a wad on my business. Never the less, over the years I've been a regular customer. Where else can you take the whole family out for dinner, eat all you want, and leave with change from a $10 bill? Even today, I frequent my local Taco Bell establishments at least once and many times twice in a week.
Now, making this kind of public statement is not how I would usually choose to deal with the issue at hand, but it seems that your website is broken, and has been for the last couple of months. Every time I attempt to communicate this information to you in a more private manner, my attempts are rejected. Your website insists I provide information that is already clearly provided on the communication form. Since no other method of contact is listed, I am resorting to standing here on this street corner and shouting to every passerby, hoping one of them will get the word to you.
Last August I chanced to visit a Taco Bell restaurant in east Port Angeles, WA. My initial concern was for the condition of the restroom. I have seen cleaner filling station restrooms. The toilet had obviously not been cleaned in days, the sink was filthy, the trash can was overflowing, and there was no soap in the dispenser. The rest of the facility was in disrepair as well, featuring missing floor tiles, dirty tables and generally disgusting conditions.
Next, my wife ordered a bean tostada. What? you don't make those any longer? That's really too bad, since they've only been a part of your menu for, like, forever! Well, she's a good sport - she ordered a burrito.
After 30 years of eating at Taco Bell, I know what I like, and maybe I'm in a little of a rut. I always order a bean burrito or two with green sauce. I was a bit surprised when my burrito arrived with a plastic tube of green sauce on the side. OK, I'll try most anything once. It was bad. It was cold and just didn't have the same taste of the green sauce I was used to. If the plan is to convert all green sauce to this method of distribution, I'll probably have to bid a sad farewell to Taco Bell as my fast food restaurant of choice.
Now, last evening I visited a Taco Bell in Tacoma, WA. Maybe I should just not eat at Taco Bell in Washington. The place was filthy, the floor was sticky, no tostada, and no integrated green sauce. What's going on here? It's time to get it together or I'll not be the last customer you lose.
UPDATE (09/27/2004) - This letter probably garners the most response from visitors to my website. Most of them respond with "Hey, it's Taco Bell, what do you expect?" OK, I'll tel you what I expect - I expect a clean environment. It's the law. I also expect them to listen. After all, if they aren't listening to their customers, they will go away eventually. That listening may take the form of 'market analysis', but let me remind you of a debacle experienced by the Chex cereal line a few years back - The machine that manufactured Wheat Chex wore out. After much 'market research' they settled on a new process that, according to the 'research' was as good or better than the old product. Unfortunately, sales dropped precipitously, the new process was abandoned and a new machine was built to manufacture Wheat Chex the old way.