Remember
2017
2017 Memorial Sites | Getty Images, EyeEm, Kunnapat Jitjumsri

Robert L. McKay Obituary

Robert McKay (AP Photo/Courtesy McKay Family)
Robert McKay (AP Photo/Courtesy McKay Family)
TUSTIN, Calif. (AP) — Robert L. McKay, who designed the first Taco Bell restaurant and with founder Glen Bell turned it from a quirky food stand into a fast-food empire, has died.

McKay, 86, died last week from cancer in Orange County, California, said his son Rob McKay.

Bell opened his first Taco Bell in Downey, California, in 1962, selling hard-shell tacos and other Mexican-inspired fast food. McKay, an architect, designed the Spanish-style arched and tiled building that became the chain's signature look.

Intrigued by the fast-food concept, McKay closed his architectural firm and joined Taco Bell, eventually becoming president.

Click to get weekly celebrity death news delivered to your inbox.

He helped familiarize American consumers with then-exotic Mexican dishes like tacos and burritos by introducing menus with phonetic pronunciations of food items and descriptions of each product's ingredients.

McKay embraced the concept of franchising, which led to rapid expansion of the company.

Taco Bell had around 900 restaurants when it was sold to PepsiCo in 1978 for $125 million in stock.

"Still today, Taco Bell's architecture of the 60's and 70's remains as one of the most recognizable and iconic designs of the era," Taco Bell said in a statement Friday. "Not only did McKay play a significant role in the exterior look and feel of Taco Bell, his work as a close friend to Glen and eventual company president helped drive much of the growth and success of the global brand we know today."

After retiring from Taco Bell in the early 1980s, McKay went on to finance other businesses that invested in technology, consumer products, real estate and banking, his family said.

McKay is survived by his wife, Meagan; his sons, Rob and John; and five grandchildren.




Copyright © 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Read Full Obituary for Robert McKay

Guest Book Highlights

If you need help finding the right words, view our Suggested Entries
 

Other obituaries

Published online on October 1, 2017 courtesy of Tributes.com
Robert L. McKay, who designed the first Taco Bell restaurant and with founder Glen Bell turned it from a quirky food stand into a fast-food empire, has died. He was 86. For full obituary and coverage... Read Obituary

Search Memorials

- ADVERTISEMENT -

About This Site: 2017 Memorials

This site includes obituaries and Guest Books from the Legacy.com network of newspaper and funeral home affiliates.

- ADVERTISEMENT -
- ADVERTISEMENT -