Taco Bell’s Questionable Cantina Menu Campaign

Lorena Garcia is not impressed with Taco Bell's ingredients.

Lorena Garcia is not impressed with Taco Bell’s ingredients.

The new Taco Bell Cantina campaign has me confused. A new commercial features Lorena Garcia — the chef who has joined her name and reputation to Taco Bell’s attempt to sell “better” quality food — in slim-fitting lime green and black colored chef’s uniforms embroidered with flowers.[1] She tastes several pieces of “steak” and refuses each piece by repeatedly telling some Swedish-looking chefs (yes, you read that right) “No!”

The voiceover informs us: “Lorena Garcia told Taco Bell ‘to make a great steak burrito, you gotta have great steak’.” The “great steak” is, apparently, not in Taco Bell’s budget, because for the first half of the commercial, their celebrity chef continues to demand better quality meat. Finally, in the last half of the commercial, her standards are met and she smiles and says, “that’s it!”

I want you to watch this thing. It’s a good one.

This article isn’t trying to make a comment on the overall quality of Taco Bell’s products, or on the fact that this new Cantina menu seems to be a rip-off of dishes served at places like Chipotle or Moe’s. We all know that Taco Bell doesn’t serve high-quality food, and anyone who has had the pleasure of eating at Chipotle knows that Taco Bell doesn’t compare. These things almost go without saying.

What is ridiculous about this commercial and other ones like it is that Taco Bell is basically admitting that their food sucks. I don’t know who Taco Bell hired to run this advertising campaign, but they aren’t doing their jobs. Why would they willingly craft a commercial around the admission that they repeatedly tried to give sub-par meat to their celebchef? And if that’s the stuff they’re giving her, what kind of crap are they selling us? Is it supposed to make us feel better that she turned it down? That now, apparently, someone at Taco Bell is finally willing to stand up and say that the quality is too bad even for fast food of that type?

Maybe Taco Bell is trying a new, more honest approach. Maybe it is a type of reaching out to the audience, a way of assuring us that they are going to be straight with us, that they’ll call a spade a spade. The funny thing is, though, that as a viewer, it has the opposite effect: I’m almost as disgusted with how ridiculous the commercials are as I am with the stuff they try to pass off as food.[2] As a viewer I’m not sure that I like it much more than the deceptive and flattering ad campaigns that usually run on television. It just seems stupider, like they can’t even be deceptive anymore with their product.

Either way, I probably won’t be trying their Cantina bowls or “steak” burritos, but  I will keep laughing about how stupid these new commercials are.
[1] I’ve never worked in the food industry, but something about her outfit doesn’t seem very legit. Comments from someone who knows more about this than I do?

[2] I mean, I don’t really know why I’m criticizing the food because I know I’d eat a Crunchwrap Supreme right now if I could.


lc-e1358128566135Laura Creel (@Little_Utopia) is the managing editor of Little Utopia.

Previously from Laura Creel:
Minnesota Representatives Show Us They’re Serious About America’s Problems
‘Ware the Monkey!
St. Augustine’s Scrumptious Stuffed Cabbage
Endless Highway: An Interview with Kelley McRae
Morning Radio Surprisingly Insightful in Wake of Mike Rice Scandal

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