Usually when you come across a restaurant that still has an outdated sign, building design, or both, its in Podunk, USA, out in the middle of nowhere, in the boondocks, where the only people who would notice don’t much care.
Burger King is usually the biggest offender in this area, in my experience. I’ve seen a BK in western Nebraska that was in a steel shed with the old 1970s logo proudly adorned across both the building and its sign. I’ve seen a BK in a truck stop outside of Des Moines that had covered the old logo with a giant sticker that had the new logo on it. And I’ve seen a BK in Pittsburgh with a Old West type treatment on its sign.
McDonald’s and Wendy’s have both kept the same, or very similar, logos and signs for such a long time that I’ve personally never seen one that had something different. And I’m the only one who cares about Hardee’s, but I’ll mention it anyway: their change in the mid-nineties from Brown-and-Orange to Brown-and-Blue and then their later change to the Carl’s Jr. star logo caused much consternation on my part when the local Hardee’s in Fort Dodge, Iowa where I grew up did not stay current.
If I was going to give out an award for “Fast Food Restaurants That Time Forgot”, or Ffrttf’s (pronounced Fifferretteff’s), those three BK’s would all be nominated. But they wouldn’t win.
This Taco Bell, located on 70th and Dodge in Omaha, is the hands-down winner. And if its not a unanimous landslide, its damn close.
First of all, its located at perhaps the busiest intersection in the entire city — a metroplex of nearly 800,000 people.
Second of all, its not just one logo behind. Its three logos behind! They have not kept current for going on 15 years! Kids who are Freshmen in High School were not alive when this logo was current!
Based on memory, and some quick research (meaning if I’m wrong, please correct me, and be polite about it, won’t you?) Taco Bell has had four logos on their signs since 1985. This one falls somewhere in the late-80s to early-90s. From what I could gather from Wikipedia, they got rid of the rainbow pattern and the brown logo in 1995 in favor of the now-familiar purple-and-pink color scheme.
Meaning that this Taco Bell is AT LEAST 11 years behind the times. And probably more. Truly the Taco Bell That Time Forgot.
But that’s only half of the story.
The building was built before the popularity of drive-thru windows forced all fast food restaurants to incorporate that feature into their structures. At some point, they tacked the window booth onto the side of the building. Problem is, the lay of the lot didn’t allow the window to be on the right side of the building, like every other drive thru in America. So they put it on the left. Not a big deal, you say?
Yeah, its not until you realize you have to pay and get your food through the Passenger side window!
I took my brother to this Taco Bell last week, and he declared it “an Abomination. What the hell is this?” Far from an abomination, I think its quite awesome myself. Things that are different are cool; they add a little spice to an otherwise sameness to life. Everytime I go to this Taco Bell I get a little excited, knowing I have to roll down the passenger window and pay that way. Its like a Disney ride or something. And its especially fun if you have passengers — it makes the drive-thru experience an equal opportunity activity. I can’t say I get excited when I go a Taco Bell anywhere else. Well, I could say that, but I’d be lying.
Other design notes about The Taco Bell That Time Forgot:
-The building’s garbage dumpsters are also on the left side, so if you’re lucky enough to be in the drive-thru line when its garbage time, you get to watch employees cross the line with garbage-cans-on-wheels. If you let them through, you’ll usually get a nod or a wave or something. If you don’t, they’ll either cross in front of the car behind you, or just stand there and act awfully surly. Good times.
-The drive-thru menu is, interestingly enough, the new purple-and-pink design scheme.
-The cups, bags and wrappers are all current. I always hold out hope that I’ll get a vintage 1980s brown-and-rainbow cup. I’m always disappointed.
Ah, The Taco Bell That Time Forgot. You bet.