Meet the Man Who Created the Viral Petition to Bring Taco Bell's Mexican Pizza Back
More than 18 months after starting a Change.org petition, Krish Jagirdar has a reason to celebrate.
When Krish Jagirdar realized that the Mexican Pizza was leaving Taco Bell's menu, he felt compelled to do something about it. He had never been one for starting petitions or asking for things from corporations. Still, he was moved to start the petition because the Mexican Pizza was his absolute favorite item on the menu.
"If I'm ever feeling down, if I'm ever feeling sad, I know what will pick me up is a Mexican Pizza," Jagirdar said to Thrillist over the phone. "It was definitely more than just sustenance and eating. It was something that's tied to so many different emotions for me."
In sending the petition link to family members, friends, even people he hadn't spoken to since high school, Jagirdar crafted a more significant meaning in calling for the return of his favorite fast food menu item. "For me, when I started the petition, I think that there was one layer to it, which is 'hey, the Mexican Pizza is being discontinued' and that's a problem," Jagirdar said.
"But I think that the Mexican Pizza and Taco Bell in particular has such a strong bond and tie with the South Asian community. It was really the only accessible fast food that a lot of Indian Americans had access to. Again, it was this amazing opportunity for people like us who were vegetarian to really kind of substitute really anything on the menu, and still have this really fun, tasty experience," Jagirdar continued.
In his petition, Jagirdar shared links to four articles taking deep dives into the significance of Taco Bell for South Asian Americans. "The perfect Taco Bell menu item is the Mexican Pizza, sub the meat for beans, add potatoes, Fritos, and nacho cheese sauce," wrote Rima Parikh for The Takeout. Parikh's writing and reporting included several other people who lauded Taco Bell and the Mexican Pizza with this high regard.
"It's not something that they promote regularly, compared to the Doritos Locos Taco or the Crunchwrap Supreme. So it's kind of like one of those if you know, you know, kind of menu items," Jagirdar explained about the Mexican Pizza's cult following. "But I don't think that a lot of people really recognized how popular it was amongst the people who didn't know about it."
When Jagirdar first heard that the pizza was leaving the menu in 2020, he had difficulty believing the news. "How can I live without Mexican Pizza?" Jagirdar asked himself at the time. It felt impossible that it was leaving the menu. But upon getting confirmation, he immediately jumped into action.
"There wasn't even an hour between me realizing that the Mexican Pizza was going to be discontinued and me starting the petition. I did it pretty much immediately," Jagirdar explained. "It seems so crazy now. When a big corporation or brand decides, ‘Hey, we're going to discontinue this item,’ what can we really do?"
But even just as one person online, it turns out that Jagirdar could do quite a lot. By September 2020, the petition had more than 50,000 signatures. When Taco Bell announced the return of the Mexican Pizza this week, there were more than 200,000 signatures. It turns out many people were in the loop on just how good Mexican Pizza is.
At some point, even celebrities like Dolly Parton expressed a desire to see it come back to the menu. And famously, Doja Cat was tasked with making the official announcement of the return while performing during weekend one of Coachella. Taco Bell even acknowledged Jagirdar's petition alongside Doja Cat in the official press release regarding its return.
When asked if he thought Doja Cat really liked Mexican Pizza, Jagirdar said, "I do genuinely believe that she does love Taco Bell and Mexican Pizza." In his experience, anyone who has tried the item has become a fan. "I've never met anybody who has tried Mexican Pizza, and then it hasn't become a part of their Taco Bell order," he said.
After two years of spreading the good word about Mexican Pizza, Jagirdar is finally seeing its return on May 19. When asked if the experience of campaigning for the return of his favorite food has changed his life, he was honest. His day-to-day is pretty much the same, but his outlook has changed slightly.
"This was cool. I'm happy that this happened. The most important thing is that Mexican Pizza is back," Jagirdar said. "I was always just a little bit stoic. Like 'Oh, man, that's tough that that happened. There's nothing you can do about it.' People have made a decision, and it's over. It's final. But to see what happens when a lot of people band together and show support for something that they believe in, and to see how we can actually affect change. I think that's really inspired me to realize when we get together to do something, amazing things can happen."
Jagirdar plans on celebrating the return of the Mexican Pizza with his friends in New York City when it becomes available on May 19. He'll head to a bar for a few drinks before going to Taco Bell to finally order his go-to, mood-lifting, absolute favorite menu item.