“Where’s the beef” was an ad slogan for Wendy’s back in 1984. But lately it’s been a charge leveled at Taco Bell by a law firm out to pick the fast food giant’s deep pockets.
Alabama-based law firm Beasley Allen Crow Methvin Portis & Miles (now there’s a mouthful) claimed that Taco Bell’s mystery meat was comprised of only 35 percent beef, based on an unspecified test by an unnamed analyst. Taco Bell insisted their beef was 88 percent beef, 12 percent “Secret Recipe.”
Taco Bell fought back with hard-hitting ads in January that said: “Thank you for suing us. Here’s the truth about our seasoned beef…”
Obviously someone smelled a meal ticket. As USA Today reported, “With annual sales pushing $7 billion, Taco Bell ranks as the nation’s sixth-largest fast-food company, according to the 2009 findings from the research firm Technomic. During the depths of the recession, the chain made sales and image strides by rolling out a value menu that ranked among the lowest-priced in the industry, and followed up with an industry-first $2 Meal Deal.”
Now that the hungry attorneys have dropped their lawsuit, Taco Bell claimed vindication with full-page ads this week in the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Register, The New York Times, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal.The full text of the ad is reprinted below.
Would it kill you to say you’re sorry?
The law firm that brought false claims about our product quality and advertising integrity has voluntarily withdrawn their class action suit against Taco Bell.
- No changes to our products or ingredients.
- No changes to our advertising.
- No money exchanged.
- No settlement agreement.
Because we’ve ALWAYS used 100% USDA-inspected premium beef.
Sure, they could have just asked us if our recipe uses real beef. Even easier, they could have gone to our Web site where the ingredients in every one of our products are listed for everyone to see. But that’s not what they chose to do.
Like we’ve been saying all along, we stand behind the quality of every single one of our ingredients, including our seasoned beef. We didn’t change our marketing or product disclosures because we’ve always been completely transparent. Their lawyers may claim otherwise, but make no mistake, that’s just them trying to save a little face.
We were surprised by these allegations, as were our 35 million customers who come into our restaurants every week. We hope the voluntary withdrawal of this lawsuit receives as much public attention as when it was filed.
As for the lawyers who brought this suit: You got it wrong, and you’re probably feeling pretty bad right about now. But you know what always helps? Saying to everyone, “I’m sorry.”
C’mon, you can do it!
Calling it a “victory for truth over fiction” (in the video description), Taco Bell CEO Greg Creed took the story straight to the people via YouTube:
If you’re a Taco Bell customer, has the lawsuit made you less inclined to eat there? Now that lawsuit has been dropped, go celebrate with a Chalupa!