Why Nobody Goes To Taco Bell

By Hadi Rahim and Jessica Hudnut

There are many important issues facing the students of Apex High School: bus driver shortages, mental health, and navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, just to name a few. But it’s time to talk about the most important issue of all: Why nobody goes to Taco Bell for lunch. 

Every day at lunch, Juniors and Seniors alike leave campus in search of nutrition. Soon enough, they can be seen returning with those iconic red and yellow takeout boxes.

The number of students returning with Bojangles seems disproportionate. A poll of 780 students conducted at both lunches found that 75 percent of respondents preferred Bojangles over Taco Bell, demonstrating a clear disparity in popularity between the two establishments. 

Students’ preference for Bojangles could be due to the close proximity to the campus. However, this cannot be the only explanation. The closest restaurant to the school is actually Taco Bell. This means a majority of students are going out of their way for Bojangles. Why?

A series of interviews revealed a clear divide between Apex High School students: Those on Team Taco Bell, and those on Team Bojangles. Many students and teachers offered their thoughts on this important, pressing issue.

One of the first groups interviewed was a table of Sophomores, who were extremely passionate about the topic. One of those students, Abby Jerchower, made a cultural argument: Bojangles serves southern-style cuisine, so it would make sense that residents of a southern town would head over to the nearest Bojangles to get fried chicken and biscuits. 

This sentiment was shared by a lot of students, as well as Mr. Brown, a CTE teacher: “Bojangles is like the true southern food, everybody from North Carolina loves Bojangles, Taco Bell is good though. But Bojangles is top tier.”

This reasoning makes sense at first glance. After all, the restaurant’s first location opened in Charlotte; however, a quick analysis of the demographics of Apex pokes holes in this theory. Only 36% of residents were actually born in Apex. Apex’s population didn’t start to boom until the 1990s. Many of these residents are from the northeast and midwest, so Southern culture cannot be Bojangles’ only selling point.

Another factor separating Bojangles and Taco Bell is cost. Students are generally split on which restaurant is cheaper. Those who prefer Taco Bell claim that Taco Bell was cheaper, while those who prefer Bojangles claim the opposite.

Danil Saitov, a student who identifies with Team Bojangles, said, “The quality per dollar is way better at Bojangles because for the equivalent of like six dollars you could get like a chicken sandwich that you could enjoy way more than if you get a taco at Taco Bell or multiple of them for like six dollars.” 

Another student, however, who was interviewed shortly after returning to school with Taco Bell, disagreed. When asked why he chose Team Taco Bell, he simply said:  “I did not feel like going all the way to Bojangles. It’s like five feet away from Taco Bell, and Taco Bell is low-key cheaper. You can get more for a lesser price. You gotta think economically sometimes.”

Andrew Lynch, a sophomore on Team Bojangles, gave his perspective as a vegetarian: “It tastes better [Bojangles], it’s cheaper. One advantage that Taco Bell does have is that you can substitute most of the meat products.”

One student, in spite of being employed by Taco Bell, chose Team Bojangles.

In spite of the overwhelming support for Bojangles, Taco Bell still has some devoted supporters. Brady Rhodes, a Freshman, explained that “Taco Bell is just amazing. You can get beans, chips, dessert, a Baja Blast. At Bojangles, you can’t get any of that. All you get is some redneck chicken.”

In another interesting development, Apex High’s own student body president, Emma Fornes, prefers Taco Bell: “Taco Bell is the perfect medium of everything… Taco Bell is cheap, it’s delicious, and I highly recommend their steak quesadillas if you want a mouthful of wonderfulness.”

Mrs. Murphy, a Language Arts teacher, explained her theory about Bojangles’ popularity, “I think it’s really not Bojangles. I think it’s just the Chicken Supremes. Whenever I ask anyone what they got at Bojangles, they just say, ‘Chicken Supreme,’ which is real chicken, but it is breaded and the barbecue sauce is muy delicioso. I don’t think it’s Bojangles as a whole.” She also commented on the price difference: “I would say generally Taco Bell is probably cheaper, but it’s kind of like Krispy Kreme donuts are very empty calories. I feel like you need to eat a lot of Taco Bell to feel full. You can buy a less-than-nine-dollar Chicken Supreme and get something that’s gonna be really filling.”

The general consensus seems to be that, while Taco Bell is cheaper, Bojangles is a better option overall. However, the two restaurants aren’t really comparable. Taco Bell’s focus is on Mexican-inspired foods like tacos, burritos, and quesadillas. Meanwhile, Bojangles, with fried chicken and biscuits and cajun seasoning, reflects the style of the American south. Either way, it’s clear that Apex High’s love of Bojangles is here to stay.

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