Test the kitchen, cafeteria and more

I already knew I was in the right place because I spotted the “Live Mas” flag, waving next to the American and Californian flags.


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


The head office is located at 1 Glen Bell Way in Irvine, named after the chain’s founder.

Taco Bell Headquarters


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


The bell logo appears everywhere, starting with the door handles at the main entrance.

Taco Bell Headquarters


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


I entered the lobby to register, where I was greeted by a large screen welcoming visitors.

Taco Bell Headquarters


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


The lobby had several small seating areas with tables for coffee or quick meetings.

Taco Bell Headquarters


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


I took an elevator upstairs and walked through these graffiti style doors that said “tacos tacos tacos”.

Taco Bell Headquarters


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


There was a fountain machine outside the test kitchen with Pepsi products that are usually available at Taco Bell restaurants.

Taco Bell Headquarters


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


I was tempted to get my usual Baja Blast, but opted to try the Dragon Paradise Sparkling Iced Tea.

Taco Bell Headquarters


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


The street art-reminiscent artwork was featured throughout the test kitchen, like this purple, blue, and white bell logo.

Taco Bell Headquarters


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


The artwork featured iconic Taco Bell items, like the Crunchwrap Supreme, tacos and hot sauces.

Taco Bell Headquarters


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


My guide took me to the test kitchen, where I tried the chain’s new vegan soy and pea protein.

Based at the Taco Bell plant


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


I tried the vegan protein on the Crispy Melt Taco, Nachos BellGrande, and Crunchwrap Supreme.

Based at the Taco Bell plant


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


The tasting room had a kitchen line with the same ingredients as the restaurants, where workers were on hand to make any off-menu combinations I wanted to try. . .

Based at the Taco Bell plant


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


…like a spicy potato taco with pea protein.

Based at the Taco Bell plant


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


The testers sit at each desk, separated by panels so that their decisions are not influenced by others.

tuberculosis tour


Kate Taylor


They compare two dishes, given to them through slits in the wall, and share their thoughts with the development team.

tb tour 8


Kate Taylor


I went to the cafeteria, which at first glance looked like an average office seating area.

Taco Bell Headquarters


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


There were tables and chairs for the workers to have lunch and a separate lounge accessible from the cafeteria.

Taco Bell Headquarters


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


When I looked closer, there were Taco Bell specific details everywhere, like hot sauce packets on the wall.

Taco Bell Headquarters


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


Art installations throughout the cafeteria referenced the bell logo.

Taco Bell Headquarters


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


According to the menus posted on the tables, Tuesday is Taco Tuesday, and Taco Bell employees get a free lunch on Thursdays.

Taco Bell Headquarters


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


A grand hallway off the lobby pays homage to Taco Bell’s iconic history.

Taco Bell Headquarters


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


There were photos and memorabilia from different times in Taco Bell’s history.

Taco Bell Headquarters


Mary Meisenzahl / Insider


Jack C. Nugent