At Taco Bell, the Drag Brunch Goes Corporate

Chicago — When the drug brunch ended at a Mexican restaurant here last Sunday, performers brunched through a crowd of about 40 party people who were just on this side of the tipsy.

But this wasn’t a standard drug branch.Was so Taco Bell Drag Branch.. And it wasn’t the mic in the hands of the lead queen. It was a grande toasted breakfast burrito.The Queen — Called a Mexican-American Performer Casedia (Pronounced Quesadilla) — Taco Bell Cantina’s MC down the block from Wrigley Field, wearing frills on her belly with the Taco Bell logo on her skin.

In the 45-minute show, Kay Cedia killed a crowd (mostly young and mostly white) and danced with fellow performers Drag King. Tenderoni And the queen Mist to When Aunt ChanThe person who tore it As a Taco Bell cashier who was hard pressed with the “” lip sync mashupShe works hard for money” When “From 9 to 5.. On the dining room table, there were holes for burritos (sausages, bacon, vegetables), hash browns, and cinnabon delight donuts in a sparkling box. Taco Bell’s signature sound “Bonn“Interrupted the drinking game.

Skyler Chmielewski, who was there to celebrate his 19th birthday, was transposed. Grabbing a folding fan of the Taco Bell drug branch brand, she declared her first drug show “breathtaking.”

“I’m at a loss for words,” she said.

There may be a more gay way to spend the afternoon in Taco Bell, but it’s hard to imagine. Arriving in time for the celebration of pride in June, the Taco Bell Drug Branch Tour in 5 cities and 10 shows is arguably the most mainstream marriage of drugs and food and a “amazing” step in the evolution of drug culture. E. Jeffreys, a drug historian.

Jeffreys, a theater researcher at New York University and New School, said: (He had never been to one of the branches in the chain.)

Taco Bell Drug Branch is the latest initiative by a company’s fast food chain to attract the attention of LGBTQ consumers.Last year, Taco Bell Named Outrapper Lil Nas X is the “Chief Impact Officer” and Burger King will be in June Donate 40 cents From all orders for Ch’King sandwiches to the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ advocate.

However, the political situation may be changing. The creation of a “drag queen story hour” for children in public libraries across the country has triggered protests and some cancellations. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis will revoke Disney World’s special tax status in April after opposing the so-called “non-gay” bill, which limits or bans discussions on sexual orientation and gender identity. Signed. At a public school in Florida.

The moment requires businesses to determine the best way to support a brand-loyal consumer group without alienating conservative customers and legislators. (Taco Bell has a drug branch in Florida, but not among some companies that have it Expressing concern About recent laws there and other states. )

Many fast food brands are embracing this year’s pride season. Chipotle and Shake Shack will donate a portion of their earnings to LGBTQ organizations during June, and the Taco Bell Foundation will fund the It Gets Better Project to expand LGBTQ’s youth workforce reserve resources. I am.

Gillian Oakenfull, a marketing professor at the University of Miami, Ohio, said the current political struggle over gay and transgender issues does not necessarily reflect consumer thinking. Regarding the acceptance of queer, she said, “Gen Z needs it.”

Dr. Oakenful, the host of drag queens, said, “There is no risk anymore,” and if companies are enthusiastic about using drugs as a marketing tool, “it comes from people they care about.” I’m not. “

When Taco Bell posted a photo of a Las Vegas brunch on Instagram, it produced some negative comments. But so far, the complaints about the show have been Breakfast salsaMild.

The tour will begin in Las Vegas on May 1st, arrive in Chicago and Nashville, will take place in New York City on June 12th and in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on June 26th. The event is free and is limited to guests over the age of 18.Held in old, Location of Taco Bell Cantina Unlike other Taco Bell restaurants, they serve alcohol.

All bookings over 550 were immediately scooped up by members of Taco Bell’s “Fire Tier” in April. Reward programAccording to a company spokesman, the brand’s most loyal customer who had the first dive.

Robert Fisher, Taco Bell’s senior production designer, said the idea of ​​a drug branch emerged a year ago within Taco Bell’s LGBTQ Live Más Pride. Employee resource groupAnd gave way to the company’s CEO, Mark King.

Fisher, the founder of Live Más Pride, said managers understand that if Taco Bell-hosted drug branches feel legal, the company must act as if it were invited to be part of the LGBTQ community. Said. As if Taco Bell was diverting drugs for tacos. “

The company signed Oscar Quintello, who lives in Los Angeles under the name Kay Cedia, as a tour drug hostess, hired a local drug artist to play with her in each city. (Taco Bell did not state the cost and amount of talent paid for the tour.) The performers are careful to keep the language and materials fairly clean and non-political.

“I have a lot of people on social media that go beyond political and religious boundaries, but they still have in their hearts to enjoy my work,” said Kintero. .. “When people start to become political, I just say:”

The relationship between drugs and food dates back to the mid-20th century. Drug review Mainly in bars and restaurants aimed at straight audiences. Historian Jeffreys estimates that drug brunch began during the 20 years of the AIDS crisis in the early 1990s.Perry’s, a restaurant in the Adams Morgan district of Washington, DC Hosting Drug branch since 1991, and it Is popular..

Today, drug brunch is an essential weekend outing in many cities, a draw for the last bachelorette party or birthday party.Food and drugs from food delivery service Sausage making party..

For those who know the history of drugs, the Taco Bell branch is a commercial torpedo that ultimately sinks into a destructive form of art.

However, others feel that the ship has been sailing for a long time.pull teeth Mainstream is described by the following co-author, Harry James Hanson.Legend of drag“A new book featuring portraits of Elder Drug’s photographs.

“When it comes to creating a corporate drug branch, it’s honestly in the drag queen’s wheelhouse,” Hanson said. “They are those cultural ambassadors.”

Perhaps that’s what’s happening at Taco Bell. After all, the company introduces drugs to an audience who may not go to the drug show unless the invitation is from Taco Bell.

Blake Handley, a 25-year-old straight father, said he would drive for three hours from his home in Dubuque, Iowa, and line up for the second line of two Chicago shows. Not surprising, given that he runs a Taco Bell fan site. , LivingMas.comAnd eat taco bells “at least” three times a week.

After the show, Handley said his first drug brunch was explosive and would come back if the fast food chain hosted another brunch. “My life is about Taco Bell,” he said.

If not everyone is excited about the show, the company is fine with it. “Don’t worry about politics or backlash,” said Sean Tresvanto, Taco Bell’s global chief brand officer. “It’s about being genuine.”

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