Get a Free Taco at Taco Bell Every Tuesday Through Sept. 12

A Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Taco is photographed.
Photo courtesy of Taco Bell

What’s better than tacos? Free tacos!

For the next four Tuesdays, Taco Bell will give away free tacos to celebrate its win in a legal fight over the “Taco Tuesday” trademark.

That’s right. Starting Aug. 15 and continuing on Aug. 22, Aug. 29 and Sept. 5, the giant Tex-Mex chain will give away one Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Taco per customer — with no purchase necessary.

This offer is good at participating Taco Bell restaurants and on delivery orders in Taco Bell’s app, although you should know that delivery fees, taxes and tip will still apply. Also, the deal is limited to one taco per person per day. So don’t get greedy.

Taco Bell and DoorDash Will Partner on ‘Taco Tuesday’ Event Sept. 12

Then, after those four Tuesdays, Taco Bell will celebrate the ultimate “Taco Tuesday.” On Tuesday, Sept. 12, Taco Bell will team up with DoorDash to open a $5 million “taco tab” to cover a portion of taco fans’ orders from any participating restaurant selling Mexican cuisine. It doesn’t even have to be a Taco Bell.

“When tacos win, we all win,” said Taylor Montgomery, the chain’s chief marketing officer. “Taco Tuesday belongs to all who make, sell, eat and celebrate tacos, and this Free-For-All will not only thank taco fans who supported the cause, but will also spotlight local restaurants and vendors who can now embrace Taco Tuesdays without fear of legal action.”

When tacos win, we all win. Now there’s a profound statement if we’ve ever heard one.

That giveaway is happening in every U.S. state except for New Jersey. Why not New Jersey? We’ll get to that.

We found the healthiest items under $5 at 12 popular fast-food chains. And, yes, Taco Bell made the list.

The Trademark Tiff Over ‘Taco Tuesday’

So what was this legal fight all about?

Another major taco chain, Taco John’s, owned the trademark “Taco Tuesday” in 49 states. If other restaurants wanted to use the phrase “Taco Tuesday” in their ads, they had to get permission from Taco John’s. So annoying.

In April, Taco Bell launched a petition asking Taco John’s to release the trademark so anyone could use it. In May, it asked the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel the Taco John’s trademark.

Taco John’s gave up the trademark in July. They figured it wasn’t worth a big, expensive legal fight that they might have lost anyway. “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,” Taco John’s CEO Jim Creel said.

There’s some cheery news there, too: Taco John’s donated $40,000 to the nonprofit group Children of Restaurant Employees — and Taco Bell matched it.

But What About New Jersey?

The Sept. 12 “Taco Tuesday” promotion with DoorDash will roll out in 49 states, all except New Jersey. Because it’s not allowed in New Jersey. Because someone else owns the “Taco Tuesday” trademark there.

In that state, the trademark is the property of a family-owned establishment, Gregory’s Restaurant and Bar in Somers Point, New Jersey.

“We’re still keeping it,” family member Emma Gregory told CNN. “We’re fighting for it.”

But make no mistake: New Jersey residents can still get a free Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Taco on Aug. 15, 22, 29 and Sept. 5 — plenty of time to get a free taste of seasoned beef, salsa, sour cream and cheese.

So, starting this Tuesday, it’s definitely taco time.

Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.