The Reason Jack In The Box Tacos Are So Cheap

Although it's kind of hard to wrap your brain around, it's an actual fact that somebody — quite a lot of somebodies — is eating a whole lot of Jack in the Box tacos. A 2017 Wall Street Journal article put the number at 554 million tacos sold (and presumably eaten) per year, which averages out to 1,000 tacos sold each minute! 

While WSJ called these tacos both "vile and amazing," likening them to "a wet envelope of cat food," the fact remains that these tacos are inexplicably popular — or, actually, not that inexplicable when you consider the price point. At two for a buck, these are the cheapest tacos in fast food, and — going to go out on a limb here — quite possibly sold to people who, hmm, may be under the influence of something (hunger, perhaps?) that has them more concerned with quantity than actual quality.

So how does Jack in the Box not go broke selling these tacos?

The simple reason Jack in the Box can price its tacos so low is because they are super-cheap to make. As Brand Eating reveals, the "meat" filling isn't even all that meaty, being a mixture of beef and textured vegetable protein — and served in a pretty skimpy proportion, to boot. A Redditor who used to make these tacos also notes that each one contains "a small handful" of lettuce, which is just about the cheapest filler ingredient you can use.

Another former JITB employee broke down the cost for two tacos on the Clutch Fans forum as follows: 5 cents for the shells, 2 cents for the lettuce, 2 cents for the cheese, 1 cent for the hot sauce, 5 cents for the "meat-like substance," 4 cents for the bags, and one minute's worth of employee labor time at $7.15 per hour, which is about 11 cents (although this was posted in 2007, sadly, the Department of Labor still lists the federal minimum wage at $7.25 per hour, so that last figure still stands). 

Discounting the (hopefully) facetious reference to the 10 cents worth of crack the tacos are laced with, this comes to 30 cents, or about 15 cents per taco. Yeah, JITB can well afford to make price their selling point — since they're sure not ever going to go head-to-head with Taco Bell when it comes to taste.