Thursday, January 9, 2014

A New Phase

Here we go with my first post in over a year:

Part 3

After having waited about a year for Del Taco to get back to me on what they repeatedly told me would eventually go through it started dawning on me that maybe they were never going to do anything. Around this same time I found out from someone that trademarks are not held inviolate in perpetuity but must be continuously used, and they must also be renewed every ten years with proof submitted at the time of each renewal that the trademark is being used in commerce. Since, to my knowledge, Del Taco's last usage of the Naugles trademark in commerce was at least ten years earlier it got me started on a quest to research the issue in more depth, to see if possibly it would be legally considered that Del Taco had indeed abandoned the Naugles trademark.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Goal

Before I go on with the history of the case I wanted to state what the goal of the quest here is. Simply put, my goals are:

  • Bring Naugles back
  • Bring the real Naugles food back
  • Bring it to as many people as possible
  • Be personally involved in all this

Some might wonder: Should Del Taco be involved in this endeavor? The answer to that is: sure, if they could do it in a way that truly meets the goals above. If they can't do it or are unwilling to then I need to accomplish those goals separately from them. My legal case only began after they seemed to have ignored the possibility of bringing Naugles back on their own and after they stopped responding to me about it. I could have kept bugging them about it for another couple years but I was already getting the message that they didn't really want to do it.

I actually like Del Taco and eat there quite a bit. I also miss their jalapeño rings and some other old menu items of theirs. I liked in the 80's when you could choose between Del Taco and Naugles and I frequently went to the Brookhurst & Slater and Gothard & Center locations when they were each co-branded as Del Taco/Naugles.

My legal action only began after repeated communications to Del Taco went ignored. Their reaction to it (comprised of stalling, obfuscation, ignoring the facts of the case, etc.) has made me appear hostile, however, when I believe there is room in this world for both chains. I strive to operate with an abundance mentality rather than with a scarcity mentality, which is described here:

"People with a scarcity mentality tend to see everything in terms of win-lose: 'There is only so much; and if someone else has it, that means there will be less for me.' The more principle-centered we become, the more we develop an abundance mentality, the more we are genuinely happy for the successes, well-being, achievements, recognition, and good fortune of other people. We believe their success adds to...rather than detracts from...our lives."

- Stephen R. Covey

The next post will get into how the legal aspect of the quest began.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

First Contact

Part 2

On July 31, 2008, I had lunch with Barbara C., longtime PR person for Del Taco, at the Foothill Ranch location of Del Taco, which is near their corporate offices just over the city border in Lake Forest. This was a nice little business lunch where we talked about my blog and about Del Taco stuff.

Near the end of the meal Barbara asked me, "If you could change anything about the Del Taco menu what would you do?" Well, obviously this was the perfect lead-in to mention my idea so I said, "Del Taco really needs to bring back Naugles items. People have not forgotten about them and it would be a popular thing."

When Barbara learned this she leaned back in her chair, thought about it for a minute, then said, "Yeah, that's actually a good idea. I'm going to take that back to the marketing people." We talked about it for a bit and I told her my idea that Del Taco could put out an extra little menu board that showed a few Naugles items that customers could order. That was about the extent of my ambition at that time.

Barbara did mention that Del Taco still sells the Naugles bun taco as an off-menu item (meaning that they have a button for it on their cash register but don't visibly display it on their menu board) and I went about a week later to a Del Taco in Irvine and found that indeed the bun taco can be ordered there. However, as with the Macho items that Del Taco sells, the bun taco at Del Taco has been 100% extricated from its history as a Naugles item. (I will add that somebody reported that the bun taco was actually originally a Del Taco item. If so, it would've been available at Del Taco in the 1960's and/or 1970 so that Naugles would have then used it on its own menu beginning in late 1970. But at some point in time Del Taco stopped openly selling it and people now seem to mostly remember it as a Naugles item.)

A few days later I received an e-mail from Barbara letting me know that Del Taco marketing wanted to meet with me to discuss some ideas. Of course I told her that I'd be willing to do that. From my perspective it looked like things were finally starting to happen. Barbara said that she would get back to me when she could arrange a meeting time. About a month went by and she wrote back and said they were still hoping to have the meeting. So I waited some more.

And waited some more.

And waited some more...

And waited for almost a year...

Then in May 2009 I was told: "it doesn't look like we'll be able to schedule [this] until the second week of June."

Over two weeks later I wrote and asked, "Did [this] get held off some more?

The response: "Yes, I'm sorry.... perhaps in about two weeks?"

And then I never heard from them again.

Then on September 28, 2009, I sent one more communication to them about it:

Hi Barbara,

I don't know if you ever presented the idea of bringing a Naugles sub-menu back to the Del Taco marketing team but people are still very interested in it. I normally get 30 - 40 hits a day from people looking for Naugles info but at this point today it has already well exceeded that amount due to links in comments left on an entry at Nancy's blog. With the nostalgia factor that is driving business so heavily at places like Bob's Big Boy and Farrell's this could be a huge selling point for Del Taco and would require little in the way of new ingredients needing to be stocked or whatever. Nancy's story on Jack in the Box bringing back a 30-yr. old burger has itself been getting a ton of traffic and was the #1 most viewed story on the Register website for a while.

Trying not to be a pest over this but my blog is the one spot where interest in Naugles can be gaged and I can tell that it is high. If it's out of the question then it's out of the question but I'd hate to see Del Taco miss an easy and profitable opportunity with public interest already so acute in a property Del already owns.


I think we could say that I tried my hardest to get this idea to work with Del Taco.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Quest Begins

Part 1

I had found out about Naugles as a teenager (possibly earlier) but the current quest began in 2007 when I wrote a quick little remembrance of Naugles on my Orange County Mexican Restaurants blog (see entry). This was a rather off-the-cuff, quickly put together paragraph with no accompanying images. After I posted it I didn't think much more about it. But I started to notice that people were finding my blog by doing Naugles-related searches, a surprising amount in fact. Some were even searching to find out if there were any Naugles locations still around.

When I saw this type of interest in a long dead brand I figured there were enough people wanting Naugles to come back that something should be done about it. Knowing that Del Taco held the trademark for "Naugles" I started a new entry: Petition to Del Taco: Bring Back Naugles! This entry now has many comments on it with Naugles fans wanting it to be brought back. Being a lifelong fan of Del Taco I hoped the news would float its way over to them and that they would consider it and do something about it.

Saturday, September 29, 2012


This is a blog I should've started a long time ago. There were reasons I didn't start it a couple years ago and now I am not so sure those reasons were good reasons. In it I will detail my quest to help revive the Naugles chain in its full glory. This story has taken many twists and turns and has been a rather interesting adventure and it needs to be logged.

This blog will focus primarily on the legal quest to procure the Naugles trademark so that its food can once again be served to thousands of adoring fans as well as to a new generation. I am in the middle of that quest now so not all will be shared but many key details are such that they can be shared with the public. Stay tuned; there will likely be at least one post a week, maybe even one a day.