Taco Tuesday is a phrase used at some point or another by pretty much anybody who loves a good taco. From various restaurants, to college dining halls, to high school cafeterias and PTO fundraisers. But for restaurants and other businesses who want to try and drum up some extra revenue by using that catchy turn of phrase, they must do so in an under the radar and careful way for fear of being sued. By whom, you ask? Apparently, by one of the only restaurants in the United States who can accurately claim that they hold the actual trademark for the “Taco Tuesday” promotional phrasing.
Taco John’s, a Wyoming chain of restaurants who hold the trademark in 49 out of 50 states (with the exception of New Jersey), filed for the trademark and was granted it in 1989 and has been aggressively contacting any restaurant that dares attempt to use the “Taco Tuesday” phrasing in order to boost their taco sales on the second day of the work week. Companies who have been threatened with lawsuits by Taco John’s thus far include the Iguana Grill in Oklahoma City, the Old Fashioned in Madison, Wisconsin, and others in the area. No restaurant has battled back to this point, choosing to give in and just change the name instead of spending money to fight over something that is pretty frivolous in the grand scheme of things.
According to Vice, Taco John’s CMO Billie Jo Waara recently stated that the chain has sent out upwards of a few hundred cease and desist letters to restaurants using the phrasing in marketing materials. Waara explained the chain’s actions by saying,
“It’s just unfathomable to us not to protect it. It’s part of our DNA. Taco Tuesday is this American institution. Not to take the chance to talk about it and our story, that would go against who we are.”
Whether such aggressive, and arguably petty, behavior is actually worth it in the long run when Taco Tuesday is such a commonly used phrased throughout the country is up for debate. But Taco John’s has clearly made their decision about where their priorities lie — and one can only hope that all the money they are presumably making with their Tuesday taco sales is enough to cover these recurring legal costs.