(NewsNation) — Fast food chain Taco John’s has been home to Taco Tuesday for 40 years, but now the company is abandoning its claim to the famous phrase. The company is also using the move to draw attention to a nonprofit organization that supports restaurant workers.
Since May, Taco John’s has been involved in a legal battle with rival chain Taco Bell, who challenged the company’s registration of the “Taco Tuesday” saying, which Taco John’s has held since 1989 (in every state except New Jersey). Taco Bell also enlisted the help of basketball star LeBron James, who previously tried to trademark “Taco Tuesday” himself.
“We’ve always prided ourselves on being the home of Taco Tuesday, but paying millions of dollars to lawyers to defend our mark just doesn’t feel like the right thing to do,” Jim Creel, the CEO of Taco John’s, said.
The company has also pledged to donate $40,000 to Children of Restaurant Employees, an organization that provides financial support to food service workers facing a health crisis or disaster.
The amount works out to $100 per Taco John’s location. The company challenged Taco Bell — its “litigious” competitor — to match the pledge, which would work out to about $720,000.
Taco John’s challenged LeBron James, too, to donate fees from his recent Taco Bell advertising campaign to the organization, and invited other fast food chains and local taco shops to take part in solidarity.
The median salary for fast-food workers is just shy of $28,000 per year as of 2022, data presented by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows.
Taco John’s, based in Cheyenne, Wyoming, got its start as a food truck over 50 years ago. “Taco Tuesday,” according to Taco John’s, began with a franchisee in Minnesota coming up with “Taco Twosday” to promote two tacos for 99 cents on a slow day of the week.
The company also suggested that it will continue to use the Taco Tuesday phrase — without the registration symbol — in its promotions, including an in-app two-for-$2 taco deal to help customers celebrate “Taco Tuesday every day.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.