The Taco Bell franchise chose to discontinue operations in the Texas Union for unknown reasons this past summer.
The franchise terminated its presence in the Union on their own accord with no involvement from University officials, Mulugeta Ferede, executive director for University Unions, said.
“The decision for Taco Bell to vacate the space was strictly made by Taco Bell’s operator,” Ferede said. “The operator had an option to extend their contract and elected not to. There was no other bid for the space.”
Aramark is responsible for contracting nationally branded food companies, such as Taco Bell, for the Union and Student Activity Center and is the primary contractor for food services at the University. Field of Greens, which was previously located in a different location within the Union, is currently occupying Taco Bell’s former location.
There were no obvious reasons behind Taco Bell’s decision to leave the Union, Aramark Food Service director Henry Jackson said in an email.
“The franchise decided to pursue other business ventures,” Jackson said. “There were no underlying issues that caused them to leave.”
A Taco Bell spokesperson said there was no available information regarding the reasons behind the closure of the Taco Bell in the Union.
Economics sophomore Powell Snelling said the Union lost a popular vendor when Taco Bell left.
“My friends and I are upset with the closing of Taco Bell because that was our go-to spot, behind Chick-fil-A,” Snelling said. “I’m not sure how the Taco Bell was doing financially, so I can’t make a decision as to why it closed, but I know many students are upset with the closing.”
Taco Bell served as a valuable low-cost option for students and needs to be replaced with a similarly cheap alternative, business sophomore Harsha Dannapaneni said.
“I definitely think it’s a bad thing that it closed down,” Dannapaneni said. “It was a great place to eat because it was a cheap option for students, and the food was good. It was also sad to see them go since they’ve been there for many years. I hope that the Union can bring more variety in their food options by bringing in a different option that mimics Taco Bell’s prices.”
The Union is currently gathering students’ opinions on what franchise should replace the Taco Bell using email surveys sent to students, according to Ferede.
“The ultimate decision of selection of a brand and an operator rests with the University … Union,” Ferede said. “The process of identifying the next vendor has already started, and we will continue to solicit feedback from our students. We hope to have a concept that is in line with that of Taco Bell.”