Taco John’s and Taco Bell Resolve Taco Tuesday Dispute

Taco John’s and Taco Bell Resolve Taco Tuesday Dispute

U.S. Restaurants – Except in New Jersey – Now May Use the Term

The Taco John’s franchise threw in the towel on maintaining its trademark of the term “Taco Tuesday,” according to a Wall Street Journal report published (appropriately!) on Tuesday.

In May, the Taco Bell franchise had petitioned the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel the trademark. Taco Bell, part of the Yum! Brands restaurant portfolio had contended that Taco Tuesday is generic and any taco purveyor should be allowed to legally use it.

Taco John’s Blinks

Taco John’s CEO Jim Creel, said it could cost $1 million to defend the trademark, the Journal reported, a price too high for his company, which has close to 400 restaurants in 20-plus states. “We’d rather take that money and put it toward a good cause,” Creel told the Journal.

Creel said Taco John’s will donate $40,000 to Children of Restaurant Employees, a nonprofit group that provides financial support to people who work in the restaurant industry and have children, the Journal said. Creel added that he’d like for Taco Bell to contribute to the organization, too.

Taco Bell had used the Taco Tuesday dispute in its marketing. In a television commercial, taco aficionado and National Basketball Association superstar LeBron James pushed for Taco Tuesday’s liberation. James himself had tried to trademark Taco Tuesday in 2019, the Journal reported, but the trademark office said it was a common phrase and refused his request.

Why Not in N.J.?

Since 1989, Taco John’s has possessed the Taco Tuesday trademark in every state except New Jersey. That’s because Gregory’s Restaurant & Bar, in Somers Point, N.J., holds the trademark for the Garden State.

The Wall Street Journal said that Taco Bell had filed another petition in May to end Gregory’s trademark, too. In June the owners said that they planned to defend their trademark.

Creel told the Journal that Taco John’s reluctantly conceded the trademark. “It’s a sad day for us and our franchisees and a lot of our customers. But at the same time, we will still have Taco Tuesday and others will have Taco Tuesday as well.” Previously, Taco John’s sent cease-and-desist letters to restaurants that used “Taco Tuesday” in violation of the trademark.

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Mary Vinnedge is an award-winning journalist who has served as editor in chief, managing editor and senior editor at national and regional publications, including SUCCESS and Design NJ magazines. She also held reporting and editing roles at The Dallas Morning News and Charlotte Observer newspapers.

Before Mary began covering franchise news and trends as a staff writer for FranchiseWire and Franchise Consultant Magazine, she developed articles on topics ranging from lifestyle, education, health and science to home projects, horticulture, gardening, interior design and architecture. These articles included her reporting on academic news at her alma mater, Texas A&M University, when Mary worked in the marketing department of the Texas A&M Foundation. She continues to be a news junkie and subscribes to several publications.

Today Mary and her husband are empty nesters living on Galveston Island near Houston. The couple’s blended family – scattered around the United States – includes five children, four grandchildren and two very spoiled, very barky miniature schnauzer rescues.
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