Taco Bell Celebrates First London Restaurant With a Little Help From Big Ben

Big Ben Taco Bell
Big Ben in London, England on September 6, 2012. Chris George/N-Photo Magazine via Getty Images



Taco Bell is being welcomed to London with open arms! The fast-food chain is scheduled to open its first restaurant in the British capital on Friday, November 23, and ahead of the big debut, it enlisted Big Ben’s help in drumming up excitement among Londoners.

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The landmark clock tower, which is currently undergoing extensive repairs, hasn’t rung its bells in more than a year, but that all changed on Monday, November 19. Sort of. Though Big Ben’s bells are still out of commission, Taco Bell had its classic “ding” digitized to sound just like the iconic Westminster chimes.

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Taco Bell Big Ben
Tacos from Taco Bell Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images


The gimmick reportedly made it seem as though the sound was coming from the historic landmark, but it was actually emanating from speakers nearby. “This was too perfect of an opportunity to not have a little bit of fun with,” Marisa Thalberg, Taco Bell’s global chief brand officer, told Ad Age. “It’s, I think, a signature Taco Bell move in terms of how to announce ourselves in a bigger way in a relatively newer market.”

Though the Mexican fast-food chain first made its mark on the U.K. in 2010, prior to the unveiling of the Hammersmith location on Friday, all of the other outposts have been located outside London. The California-based company plans to open three additional eateries in the European city in the near future, and according to Delish, all four will boast modern designs and open-kitchen concepts. The Hammersmith location will even have a machine that allows beer to fill a cup from the bottom before being sealed with a magnet.

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The move comes as Taco Bell is looking to increase its international presence from 437 restaurants outside the United States to 1,000 by 2022. Raved Thalberg: “The consumer demand is definitely there.”

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