Taco Bell may be the home of Nacho Fries, but for many, the fast-food staple isn’t exactly a shining example of authentic Mexican cuisine.
However, per the results of a nationwide survey known as The Harris Poll, more than 77,000 Americans have deemed the California-based, Chinese-owned chain the best Mexican restaurant in the country. Taco Bell beat out the likes of Chipotle and Moe’s Southwest Grill to win “Brand of the Year” for the first time since Harris launched its EquiTrend Study 30 years ago.
For the past two years, Moe’s Southwest Grill has taken Harris’ top honors in the category, which measures the overall health of a brand by asking consumers questions based on three variables — familiarity, quality and future consideration. Chipotle was the winner the year prior, but a series of recent illnesses caused that brand to plummet more than 10 points.
Other contenders for first place included Qdoba, Baja Fresh and Del Taco, but Taco Bell’s innovative product offerings, such as the aforementioned Nacho Fries, propelled it to the No. 1 spot in 2018. “Taco Bell’s marketing is ubiquitous so it wasn’t surprising to me that they came out on top this year,” said Amir Kanpurwala, director of the survey. “It’s not so much that Moe’s or Chipotle are falling off the map. Taco Bell has just been a stronger brand as of late, as demonstrated by the strong familiarity and consideration marks.”
Still, considering Doritos Locos Tacos aren’t exactly a staple south of the border, many social media users were angered by Taco Bell’s first-place finish, especially since the country does boast some delicious, and authentic, Mexican restaurants. Check out some reactions below:
#TacoBell is NOT a Mexican restaurant. It’s an American fast-food chain with dense, bland, very-much-not-Mexican food. Who exactly were the zombies with no taste Harris Poll found to say “Yeah, Taco Bell is the best Mexican food!”?
— OhioWxGirl (@OhioWxGirl) September 13, 2018
— Nick Perdue Daily (@thenickperdue) September 12, 2018
Anyone surprised by Taco Bell being voted the “#1” Mexican restaurant in America clearly don’t understand that the best Mexican restaurants are the local mom and pop restaurants.
— stick_schiff (@stick_schiff) September 13, 2018
Nope. Top fast food fake Mexican would be Taco Cabana. 😬
— Vicki (@Lectronica) September 12, 2018
These folks need to come to Oakland – Doña Tomas, Cosecha, Cholita Linda, Tacubaya… or Austin at Curra’s, Guero’s, even Torchy’s. If @tacobell is the best where they live – missing out on the real deal.
— Eric Oliver (@ejoliver77) September 12, 2018
Taco Bell is to Mexican Food (‘Best Mexican Restaurant’) as Waffle House is to fine dining.
— Don Dowling (@don_dowling) September 13, 2018
A recent poll named Taco Bell, “America’s Best Mexican Restaurant” even though Taco Bell isn’t real Mexican food… pic.twitter.com/ApwrzwkMmQ
— Daniel Weingarten (@dwcomedy) September 13, 2018
Tell Us: Are you surprised Taco Bell was voted the best Mexican restaurant in the country?
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