No, Taco Bell Isn't Opening 1,000 China Stores... Yet

By Bridget O'Donnell, January 11, 2017

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Just one month after opening its first (reboot) restaurant in Shanghai, Taco Bell announced that it would be opening several more branches across China, the Wall Street Journal reports.

But contrary to popular reports circulating online this week, there won't be 1,000 restaurants opening in the Chinese mainland by 2022... at least not for the time being.

READ MORE: Omg Omg Taco Bell is Open in Shanghai

That misreported figure appears to have originated from an Eater.com article published on January 10, which cites the aforementioned WSJ report as a source. But the WSJ article only mentions that an undisclosed number of stores will be opening in the next year:

"Company executives say they hope to open several more in other major Chinese cities this year to test the waters for a possible nationwide rollout."

Further proof that the widely shared figure is wrong can be found in a correction on an Uproxx.com article published January 10:

"The earlier version of this story stated that China would roll out 1,000 Taco Bell restaurants by 2022. This information was incorrect. The author regrets the error."

Uproxx correction
The Uproxx correction.

So where did the number come from? Looks like it may have been a simple mixup.

Back in March of 2016, it was reported that Taco Bell was planning on opening 1,000 new overseas restaurants by 2020. Note: that's "overseas" and not "China."

In any case, we're sure taco aficionados across the Middle Kingdom — especially those in large-tier cities like Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen — are excited to hear that more Taco Bells are coming soon.

Taco Bell Shanghai

Taco Bell Shanghai
Shanghai's first Taco Bell (2.0)

This isn't Taco Bell's first attempt into the fickle Chinese market. Parent company Yum! brands opened a flagship store in Shanghai in 2003, followed by another in the city and two additional locations in Shenzhen. But the run was short lived, and all Taco Bell 1.0 franchises in China closed by 2008. 

Taco Bell has said that it's adjusting its menu to focus on local tastes in the reboot of its Shanghai franchise. That means more combo meals, higher-end options, Sriracha sauce, lots of nacho cheese and even a drink list. (You can read all about it in our review here).

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