What popular fast food chain encouraged customers to "think outside the bun"?

What popular fast food chain encouraged customers to “think outside the bun”?


The popular fast food chain that encouraged customers to “think outside the bun” is Taco Bell. With its catchy slogan and innovative menu offerings, Taco Bell has successfully positioned itself as a go-to destination for those looking for a unique twist on traditional fast food.

Taco Bell’s Marketing Strategy

Taco Bell’s “think outside the bun” campaign was launched in 2004 and aimed to differentiate the brand from its competitors by highlighting its diverse and creative menu options. The slogan encouraged customers to break away from the typical fast food choices and explore the bold flavors and unconventional combinations that Taco Bell had to offer.

The campaign was a departure from the traditional focus on burgers and fries that dominated the fast food industry. Taco Bell wanted to position itself as a brand that embraced innovation and catered to customers who were looking for something different.

Innovative Menu Offerings

One of the key ways Taco Bell encouraged customers to “think outside the bun” was through its menu innovation. The fast food chain introduced a range of unique and unexpected items that appealed to a wide variety of tastes.

For example, the Doritos Locos Tacos, launched in 2012, combined the popular Doritos chips with Taco Bell’s classic taco, creating a flavor explosion that resonated with customers. This product became a huge success for the brand and showcased Taco Bell’s ability to think creatively and push the boundaries of traditional fast food.

Taco Bell also introduced the Crunchwrap Supreme, a portable and convenient option that combined various ingredients like beef, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream in a grilled tortilla. This item became a fan favorite and further solidified Taco Bell’s reputation for offering unique and unconventional menu choices.

Embracing Customization

Another aspect of Taco Bell’s strategy to encourage customers to “think outside the bun” was its emphasis on customization. The fast food chain allowed customers to personalize their orders, giving them the freedom to create their own unique combinations.

Taco Bell’s “Make it Fresco” option, introduced in 2005, allowed customers to substitute ingredients like cheese and sour cream with pico de gallo, reducing the overall calorie and fat content of their meals. This customization option appealed to health-conscious customers who wanted to enjoy fast food without compromising on their dietary preferences.


Taco Bell’s “think outside the bun” campaign successfully positioned the fast food chain as a leader in innovation and creativity within the industry. By introducing unique menu items and embracing customization, Taco Bell encouraged customers to explore new flavors and combinations, setting itself apart from its competitors.

Through its marketing strategy, Taco Bell was able to attract a diverse customer base and establish itself as a brand that was willing to take risks and think outside the traditional fast food norms.


– Taco Bell: https://www.tacobell.com/
– Business Insider: https://www.businessinsider.com/taco-bell-doritos-locos-tacos-2012-3
– QSR Magazine: https://www.qsrmagazine.com/fast-food/taco-bell-s-quest-customization