With tank-tops, bikinis, and tie-dye t-shirts now sold by the chain, who likes Taco Bell enough to buy their merch? Since tons of fans already make their own apparel, maybe a better question is: Who is going to eat at Taco Bell Cantinas?
In an effort to rebrand their tasteless, cheesy, highly-questionable “Mexican” food, Taco Bell launched a new clothing line. Complete with trucker hats, bikinis, and hot sauce beach towels, the retail goods play on recent trends to popularize shitty food as well as the legions of internet designers already making Taco Bell clothing. Etsy houses more than 100 Taco Bell t-shirts from the lazy (You Had Me at Let’s Go to Taco Bell) to the plain stupid (Straight Outta Taco Bell). Encouraged by the likes of PBR—which won swarms of hipsters with their t-shirts and jackets—Taco Bell attempts to find a soft spot in youngster’s hearts with overpriced merch. The clothing will be housed in Taco Bell’s latest Catina location on the Vegas strip. Like Vegas itself, the new Cantinas are bright and clean, yet trashy at the same time.
Presenting a modern ambiance for the confused, stoned diners who happen to wander into one of the three Cantina locations across the country, the Taco Bell offshoots also serve alcohol and have “shareable” options. Other than these “family-style” offerings, which are just appetizer versions of dishes, the menu is entirely the same. The heads at Taco Bell are hoping that customers hopped-up on Twisted Freezes (the Cantina’s alcoholic slushies) won’t notice. So amongst the community seating and open kitchen, patrons will still be able to get their beloved Cheesy Gordita Crunches and Doubledillas.
Taco Bell’s fare is basically endless versions of tortillas and cheese surrounding tortillas filled with cheese. So who are the new Cantinas made for? Why would you build a location with comfortable, sit-down dining areas when the majority of the clientele will shame eat their low-priced morsels in the dim light of a lamp post while huddled behind their steering wheel? Who amongst the budget diners would like to linger over a glass of wine? And will their Doritos Locos-covered fingers be suitable for the modern tables? The Cantinas is the best example of a pig in lipstick.
So other than the impaired and confused, who will eat at Cantinas? Maybe the section of the population who loves both drinking and Mexican Pizza. As Taco Bell usually follows inebriation, maybe the Cantina will bridge the gap. And maybe not.