Who owns "Taco Tuesday?" Two restaurants duke it out for the rights to the phrase
Taco Tuesday has become part of the American lexicon, a modern tradition delighted in by families across the country. But apparently, the alliterative moniker is just as subject to the unyielding capitalist systems as the rest of us. The slogan “Taco Tuesday” has started a feud between two midwestern businesses. According to Business Insider, a Wyoming based taco chain trademarked the slogan in 1989 – and the company, Taco Johns, is committed to defending its creation. They’ve sent countless cease and desist letters over the years to other companies around the country.
Now, after Taco John sent a cease and desist to a bar in Cheyenne, Wyoming, real drama has been stirred up. The bar, Freedom's Edge Brewing Co, is just five blocks away from Taco John’s national headquarters. Once a week, a taco truck parks outside the bar, and the situation are advertised as “Taco Tuesdays.”
In the letter, Taco John said that their trademark over Taco Tuesdays was valuable and that "it is still extremely important to us to protect our rights in this mark."
"We certainly appreciate our fellow community member's enthusiasm for tacos on Tuesdays, and the term is often used inadvertently,” the cease and desist letter stated.
Well, Freedom’s Edge was not going to take Taco John’s demand sitting down. Freedom’s Edge posted a response to their Facebook page, where the comment section became overwhelmed.
"We have nothing against Taco John's but do find it comical that some person in their corporate office would choose to send a cease and desist to a brewery that doesn't sell or profit from the sales of tacos,” Freedom’s Edge’s post read.
"I have some choice words for a corporate company that is infringing on local small businesses trying to keep afloat. LONG LIVE #nottacotuesday," wrote one Cheyenne resident, Jackie Suntrup, according to the Associated Press.
Freedom’s Edge doesn’t really have anything to worry about, according to lawyers interviewed by the AP.
"It's kind of asinine to me think that one particular taco seller, or taco maker, would have monopoly rights over 'Taco Tuesday,'" Seattle-based attorney Michael Atkins told the AP. "It has become such a common phrase that it no longer points to Taco John's and therefore Taco John's doesn't have the right to tell anybody to stop using that."
In a 2016 TEDx Talk, the marketing director of Taco John’s called the slogan the “DNA” of their brand.
"I know that we've been seen as a bully, some corporate giant that is protecting this brand, but really it's us protecting the little guy," Maara said during the talk. "Great ideas can come from the most unexpected places, and when they do, we should protect it."
Taco John’s serves Americanized Mexican food which they call “West-Mex,” and their most famous menu item isn’t tacos, it is their “potato oles” – spiced fried potatoes, salsa and cheese in a burrito.
No word yet if Taco John’s has sent a cease and desist to LeBron James, who seems to have the best Taco Tuesdays, every week.