You may not have known this, but your favorite local Mexican restaurant’s Taco Tuesday event is already trademarked by another restaurant. Taco John’s, a small chain in Wyoming, has had a claim over the phrase since 1989. But the plot thickens — Taco Bell filed a petition to “liberate the phrase” so restaurants nationwide can use it, according to a Taco Bell press release.
“Taco Bell believes ’Taco Tuesday’ should belong to all who make, sell, eat and celebrate tacos,” the press release said. “In fact, the very essence of “Taco Tuesday” is to celebrate the commonality amongst people of all walks of life who come together every week to celebrate something as simple, yet culturally phenomenal, as the taco. How can anyone Live Más if they’re not allowed to freely say ‘Taco Tuesday?’”
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Taco John’s Chief Marketing Officer Barry Westrum said the initiative started when a Taco John’s location based in Minnesota noticed their business was slower on Sundays and Tuesdays, according to The Guardian. Thus, “Taco Twosdays” was born — customers could get two tacos on Tuesdays for 99 cents. The company established the trademark 10 years later.
And apparently, Taco John’s has fought to keep its trademarked slogan from other restaurants before — an article from Insider in 2019 highlights a trademark feud between Taco John’s and a brewery five blocks from the restaurant. Lebron James was also stopped from acquiring the phrase, and the only place that Taco John’s doesn’t have the trademark is in New Jersey, where the restaurant Gregory’s in Somers Point has had a statewide trademark since 1982.
Taco John’s only has about 400 locations, while Taco Bell has over 7,200, per The Guardian. The company expressed they’re not seeking trademark rights themselves, and only wants to seek “common sense for usage of a common term.”
If you care about the fight to free the phrase once and for all, you can sign Taco Bell’s Freeing Taco Tuesday petition here. At the time of this being posted, the campaign had 493 signatures.
“How can someone own ‘Taco Tuesday’? It’s a common phrase. Can you imagine if we weren’t allowed to say ‘what’s up’ or ‘brunch’?” the petition said.
You can also tune into Taco Bell’s Reddit AMA on May 22, where you can ask Taco Bell any questions you have about their campaign — if you’re feeling liberated in the fight to free Taco Tuesday once and for all.
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