LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 30:  An exterior view shows a sign at a Taco Bell restaurant on March 30, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Taco Bell Corp. announced that on March 31, 2020, the company will give everyone in the country one free beef nacho cheese Doritos Locos Taco, no purchase necessary, to drive-thru customers at participating locations while supplies last as a way of thanking people who are helping their communities in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The company also announced it would relaunch its Round Up program, which gives customers the option to "round up" their order total to the nearest dollar, to raise funds for the No Kid Hungry campaign. The Taco Bell Foundation will also be donating $1 million dollars to the campaign.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Taco Bell Only Offered 5 Menu Items When It First Opened
By Aimee Lamoureux
In 1962, Taco Bell was founded in Downey, California, by Glen Bell, a successful entrepreneur who had previously run several other restaurants. Bell's decision to sell tacos set him apart from rival fast-food competitors, such as McDonald's, who sold more traditional fast-food fare of burgers and fries, per Britannica.
Taco Bell's original menu offered just four Mexican-inspired food items (tacos, burritos, frijoles, and tostadas), as well as one standard American-food option, but with a twist, the chili burger. The menu was also quite affordable, with each item priced at just 19 cents (the equivalent of about $1.91 today, per CPI Inflation Calculator).
Throughout the '80s, Taco Bell focused on expanding its menu offerings, adding new favorites like the Taco Salad and Taco Bell Grande. In the '90s, Taco Bell launched its first-ever value menu, charging just 49 cents for a taco, 79 cents for a Supreme taco, and 99 cents for a Big Beef taco; today, it has yet to show signs of slowing down its menu innovation.