Yet when actual machinery did that same meticulously robotic work, customers weren't having it.
"Customers could tell the tacos were different," Prince said. "They came out fine -- the machine worked well, don't get me wrong. But there was just something different about them that the customers did not like."
That, and the Automatic Taco Machine had a habit of breaking down, as most heavy machinery does, and leaving the kitchens taco-less. And since Automatic Taco Machine technicians aren't very easily found in Southern California (or anywhere) there wasn't a quick fix.
"Ultimately, it was just way ahead of its time. It did what it was supposed to do. But the world just wasn't ready for it. And it just didn't fit in with what people wanted at the time," Prince said.
Yet even though Taco Bell's experiment failed, the drive to automate facets of fast food continues throughout the industry.