“Americans Eat 554 Million Jack in the Box Tacos a Year, and No One Knows Why,” a Wall Street Journal headline proclaimed on Tuesday.
The Wall Street Journal was able to provide a plenty of evidence that the fast-food chain’s tacos are disgusting, including a man comparing the menu item to a “wet envelope of cat food.” However, the Journal one missed one obvious reason why millions of the tacos are consumed every year.
The reason: drunk and/or high people love the greasy, soggy, semi-disgusting mess that is the Jack in the Box taco — and the company is more than happy to appeal to these inebriated customers.
According to Foursquare data, 17% of Jack in the Box’s customers visited between the hours of 10 p.m. and 4 a.m., reported QSR Magazine. That’s the second-highest proportion of late night customers in the industry, with the No. 1 spot occupied by stoner classic White Castle.
A casual perusal of social media confirms that the late-night customers behind the statistic are often drunk or high when visiting. A Facebook group called Eating Jack in the Box Tacos When You Are Drunk has more than 7,500 likes, and Twitter users are more than happy to link an altered state of mind to their fast-food consumption:
Jack in the Box’s is far from subtle in its attempts to win over inebriated customers.
In 2013, Jack in the Box debuted “Munchie Meals” — weird mashups that package together options like a burger topped with curly fries or a spicy crispy chicken topped with onion rings, jalapenos, and nacho cheese sauce, served with a side of tacos. Commercials featured stereotypical stoners asking questions like “Would you rather have spoons for hands or elbows for ears?”
Jack in the Box’s history marketing to stoners has even gotten the chain in hot water. In 2007, anti-drug activists and parents were outraged by one of the chain’s commercials that featured a “clearly high” young man ordering 30 tacos at a Jack in the Box location.
Despite protests, it’s a business plan that’s paying off. Last quarter, the company reported same-stores sales increased 2%, which Jack in the Box said beat all “major competitors in the burger category.”
As the most popular menu items, tacos proved crucial in Jack in the Box’s mission to beat the burger business. Currently, Jack in the Box has more than 2,200 locations, compared McDonald’s 14,000 US locations and Burger King’s 7,100 restaurants.
That’s not to say that no sober people eats Jack in the Box’s tacos. However, with options like the Munchie Meal and the proliferation of late-night customers, the fast-food chain is more than willing to market a menu item that is both disgusting and incredible craveable to the most susceptible customers available.
Jack in the box tacos are only good when you’re drunk
— Joy (@riojooy) December 24, 2016
I don’t care what anyone says… I’ll eat the fuck out of some Jack in the Box when I’m high. 2 tacos for a dollar. Fuck yes.
— Harbinger of Mundane (@Ant_F3ltz) December 24, 2016
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.