It’s a simple idea, really. And, like many simple ideas, a big one. Starting officially at 12:01 a.m. on March 8, Taco Bell will attempt what CEO Greg Creed calls "…definitely the biggest launch in Taco Bell history." It’s the Doritos Locos Tacos, which loosely translates to a taco shell made out of Doritos.
Though most likely developed by a stoned college kid in his dorm room many years ago, the concept was initially proposed by the Frito-Lay company (a subsidiary of the PepsiCo Corporation, also Taco Bell’s former parent company) in January of 2010, and first tested in Toledo, Ohio, in September of last year. "People at Frito-Lay have been amazing to work with," says Creed of the partnership, and both companies fully expect the first type of Doritos Locos Tacos, the popular Nacho Cheese flavor, to be one of many (Cool Ranch being the obvious runner-up, though there are currently 123 different flavors of Doritos worldwide to choose from).
Taking a first look at the Doritos Locos Taco (again, it’s a taco shell made out of Doritos), let alone tasting it (and yes, it tastes pretty much like Doritos), it's easy to be surprised at amount of detail involved in the process of its creation. For one, there was the issue of shape. Doritos, historically, are shaped like triangles, and triangles (despite the probable conclusion of the above-mentioned stoned college kid) do not make good taco shells. The first solution to this problem was simply to put Doritos seasoning on a Taco Bell taco shell, and predictably, this solution failed. According to Steve Gomez in product development, "What we learned was that Doritos lovers and Taco Bell lovers, have really big expectations for this idea." And so Gomez, along with his team, and the product development team at Frito-Lay, went about creating a new kind of dough that mimicked the traditional Doritos recipe yet was thicker and held less air, so as not to break — this new dough was also pliable enough to be formed into the shape of a workable taco shell. Four separate factory lines were then built for the specific replication of this shell, and on March 8, more than 60 million of them will be shipped all over the country.
Fifty years prior, almost to the day, Taco Bell founder Glen Bell had a simple idea of his own. If you can sell hamburgers out of a hamburger stand, why not sell tacos, too? This idea eventually led to a $7 billion, international chain of quick-service restaurants, where, on average, nearly half the population of the U.S. eats once a month. What will become of the Doritos Locos Tacos? Who knows. But if you participate in the first-ever Taco Bell "Hometown Tweet-Off," you and your town may just get the chance to try one before it takes over nationwide.
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Check out The Daily Meal's reviews of Taco Bell's newly released FirstMeal Breakfast Menu and Cantina Menu.
Joshua Morrison was invited by Taco Bell to taste the Doritos Locos Taco in a special press event.