‘Throwing Shade,’ ‘Lit,’ and Other Millennial Vocabulary Words That Taco Bell Executives Are Learning

Millennials are behind Taco Bell’s millennial-focused business strategy, and it’s going pretty well, if you hadn’t noticed

Social media strategy on fleek. 

If you’ve ever wondered how exactly Taco Bell seems to maintain what is perhaps one of the most youthful and well-engaged social media presences of all time — for instance, a Taco Bell publicist once told us that “Taco Bae” was the company’s most successful tweet in its history — wonder no more.

It’s all thanks to the company’s careful and consistent method of learning from the millennials themselves, “a group of employees in their 20s who send out an email every Tuesday or Wednesday,” according to The Associated Press.

“The words are also posted on screens and monitors around the office in Irvine, California.”

And before you dismiss these study sessions as inane, consider the tremendous purchasing power of the 20-something, which no company can afford to ignore.

For Taco Bell especially, whose largest customer base is millennial, there is no price too great to stay afloat in an industry where a competing breakfast menu or seemingly silly mashup can make or break quarterly earnings goals.

So what phrases have the executives at Taco Bell been studying of late? One recent word of the week was “lit,” defined in a company email as “used to describe a certain situation, person, place or thing as awesome/crazy or just 'happening' in general.”

Another email explained that “throwing shade” was a common phrase meaning to suggest when one person publically disrespects another.

“Some of these words you see, I don't even know how you could use that in a sentence,” Taco Bell CEO Brian Niccol told the AP.


And yet, the team will continue to absorb them all because “in the end, that's how Taco Bell stays relevant.”