Glen Bell, founder of the Taco Bell restaurant chain, died this week. His passing may have taken with him the answer to one of the great secrets of our time: why is there no Taco Bell in Cranberry?
It is a persistent question – one that Township officials here have been asked for years. The underlying assumption seems to be that municipal authorities pick and choose which restaurants to open within their jurisdiction. So, according to that logic, Cranberry must have given Taco Bell the thumbs down for reasons that can only invite speculation. And we’ve heard some imaginative ones.
But the truth is we’ve never been approached by anyone who wanted to operate a Taco Bell here – either by Yum Foods, the parent company of the chain, or by any of its many franchise holders. If we had, they would have been shown the same courtesy as any other restaurateur.
For example, if they wanted to have a drive-thru window, they would be required to locate inside a shopping center or mall rather than directly fronting onto a highway. They would have to provide ample parking. They would have to pay an impact fee proportionate to the traffic they generate. And they would have to make sure their exterior signage, landscaping, and other features were consistent with our codes.
I admit it’s a fairly complicated process, but it’s one that lots of other businesses have successfully navigated here, including a number of Tex-Mex restaurants. So the mystery of Taco Bell in Cranberry remains as dark as a quesadilla smothered in chipotle empanadas.