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Revist Taco Bell's Revolutionary Taco-Making Robot From 25 Years Ago

Photo courtesy of Taco Bell.

Somewhere on the second floor of Taco Bell's headquarters in Irvine, CA, you'll find the above pictured machine sitting around. Its brilliance dulled after so many years, yet still in tip-top shape, this hunk of metal was a long-forgotten relic of Taco Bell's first foray into the world of high-tech restaurants twenty-five years ago. Called the "Automatic Taco Machine," this piece of technology had the capability to create a single taco in just ten seconds and could crank out 900 in an hour.

Taco Bell spokesperson Matt Prince learned about this legendary machine from a coworker and made it his mission to uncover what he could about this robot.

GIF Courtesy of Taco Bell.

The Automatic Taco Machine was developed by Taco Bell's engineering team, who was tasked with speeding up taco making in restaurants. The final result was the "Taco-Matic," as it was nicknamed by CNN in archived footage. This robot would take a tortilla, fold it, and fill it with beef, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese without having to rely on human workers, doing so in a blink of an eye.

However, according to Matt, the machine hasn't been in operation since the mid-90s, when it was part of a test run of the "restaurant of the future" at an Irvine location of Taco Bell, which also featured ordering kiosks and tablets at the drive-thru for ordering. While the machine was swift, efficient, and "ahead of its time," multiple problems arose with using the machine to make tacos.

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GIF Courtesy of Taco Bell.

Soon, however, the Taco-Matic often broke down and the tacos lacked a "human touch" that you would normally get from handmade ones. These issues led Taco Bell to conclude that using this machine to replace human employees "didn't make sense."

Needless to say, the test was discontinued after a short amount of time and the robot was moved back into Taco Bell's headquarters. Now, it just sits on the second floor, collecting dust, a reminder of Taco Bell's vigilance towards innovation.