Taco Bell To Stake Its Future On Doritos Locos Tacos

Taco Bell has been rolling out the Doritos Locos Taco over the past year. Now the company has reportedly declared that the taco — which does indeed have a Doritos-based shell — is a “breakthrough product designed to reinvent the taco,” and the company’s strategy for 2012 will be built around it.

According to Nation’s Restaurant News, Taco Bell CEO Greg Creed told investors that the company has suffered from a lack of new products, and that he sees 2012 as a chance to change that:

[Creed] maintained the year fell apart because Taco Bell did not have sufficient new-product news to win people back or entice more incremental visits from its customers. …

Creed outlined an aggressive game plan for 2012 built around what he referred to as a breakthrough product designed to reinvent the taco. That product has been revealed as the Doritos Locos Taco, which through a partnership with Frito-Lay was developed as a taco in a shell made from Nacho Cheese Doritos.

Other menu upgrades for the future include a Chef’s Signature lineup of upgraded tacos and other menu items, as well as the reformulation of several key ingredients, from the beans and pico de gallo to marinades and seasonings for proteins.

“There are 34 different bun types in the quick-service category and only one kind of taco shell,” Creed said. The company also plans to expand its breakfast menu to 800 locations.

Creed said that a lawsuit — later dropped — over the ingredients in its beef hurt the company in 2011, but that “we didn’t change our beef recipe or pay the plaintiff one penny.”

Taco Bell focuses on future with new taco [Nation's Restaurant News]

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  1. Magical Pig says:

    Why are they trying to reinvent the wheel? If I want a taco I want taco, not some weird crap shell.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      My thought as well. The CEO’s comment that sales slumped because they did not have enough new product launches was a pretty bizarre concept to me.

      • rmorin says:

        New products intially spike sales, by increasing the amount of times regular customers come in to try them, as well as by people that are not regular customers trying them. That is why they have products for only a couple of months so they do not get stale in the mind of consumers.

        While Taco Bell released close variants of existing products (or value priced existing products) many times in the past year, they actually have introduced very few different new products which is essential in the QSR game to get those temporary spikes to keep happening.

    • smo0 says:

      The beauty of living in the southwest is that we have tons of other options than Taco Bell – really taqueria’s and they are open 24/7.

      I LOVE YOU FILIPITOS! (I’ve got some love for Roberto’s too but ever since the dude died, their quality has gone down.)

    • Rose says:

      Are you serious? This new taco shell is going to be AWESOME.

    • tooluser says:

      There are actually two types of taco shell: regular and large. Jack-in-the-Box and Del Taco have both sizes.

  2. McRib wants to know if you've been saved by the Holy Clown says:

    I WILL CHANGE MY NAME FROM MCRIB FOR COOL RANCH TACOS

  3. MrMagoo is usually sarcastic says:

    The final stage of their evil plan: Use Taco-Flavored Doritos as the shell, and they won’t have to include any of the normal taco fillings.

    “Taco Bell… where the shell is the taco!”

  4. rpm773 says:

    Chef’s signature tacos? I lol’d

    What chef came up with those? The stoner who flunked out of Johnson and Wales?

    • RSA@consumerist says:

      Aside from “Chef’s Signature” tacos, there’s the notion that food can be upgraded. We’re talking about edible ingredients, not airline seats or car accessories. (Though in the case of Taco Bell, it wouldn’t surprise me if those are part of the filling…)

  5. Rexy on a rampage says:

    I’ll never understand why people eat at Taco Bell, let alone this Doritos crap. (I experience unpleasant side affects, including but not limited to, making friends with my toilet.)

    • MrMagoo is usually sarcastic says:

      Unknown to most people, Taco Bell is a subsidiary of Yum Foods, which is itself owned by Charmin.

      • marillion says:

        Oh man… I see where you are going with that… Brillante!

      • humphrmi says:

        Man, that’s such a great story. So great, I really *hate* to point out that Yum was spun off (originally as Tricon) from Pepsico as an independant company, and Charmin is a brand name owned by Procter & Gamble.

        • ReverendTed says:

          Man, that’s an informative post. So informative that I really *hate* to point out that the joke was obvious enough that few people would be likely to mistake it for truth.
          [/good-natured ribbing]

    • Rexy on a rampage says:

      Arghhh…. effects.

      Why doesn’t Consumerist have an edit button?!

      • MrMagoo is usually sarcastic says:

        Because the Consumerist’s editors are perfect, and never make a mistake in their posts, so they assume the rest of us are also.

    • 12345678nine says:

      Because you get a huge amount of filling food for cheap. That is why.

  6. raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

    I want to try these.

  7. Hi_Hello says:

    only one kind of taco shell ? who is this creed person? This guy never been to a real mexican place?

    There’s at least two type of taco shell, flour or corn base. They can be either hard or soft.
    Oh there is also the wheat kind.. i think.. i’ve seen at the super market… I think there are green kind… spinach base? I thought I saw a red one before… my guess tomato base?

    • nicless says:

      I believe he was talking about the “quick-service category” of places to eat, not the grocery store. And yes, I believe the red is tomato based. Also, eww.

    • lucky13 says:

      The whole wheat tortilla is just a variation of white flour tortillas used for soft shell tacos and burritos (which TB does offer already). Green and red are variations of corn tortillas (primarily color only) similar to blue corn tortillas which are actually made from blue(ish) corn. I’m pretty sure that the red and green are just coloring unlike colored pastas which are (sometimes) flavored with spinach or tomato.

    • framitz says:

      Based on your comment, I seriously doubt if you have ever seen a REAL Mexican restaurant.

  8. KPS2010 says:

    in for 10

  9. frenchman says:

    “A lack of new products”…??!! Taco Bell comes out with more new products than any other fast food restaurant I can think of!

    • rpm773 says:

      Yeah, but none of them are ever really new. They’re just a different combination/amount of the same 5 kinds of goop and one of 3 different wrappings.

      And then it’s off to the marketing department, which is really just a 386 clone PC that spits out random adjectives like “crunch”, “beefy”, “supreme”, “melt”, “mexi”, “ranch”, etc

      • frenchman says:

        True, but that’s the Mexican food game for you. It’s *all* the same few ingredients.

        • rpm773 says:

          Oh, I beg to differ on that. Real Mexican cuisine (not the American fast food or supermarket aisle interpretation of it) is a world class cuisine.

        • The Porkchop Express says:

          Gaffigan did a thing where he went through the menu at a Mexican joint and the waiter answered it all the same: Meat, Cheese, Salsa, and a Tortilla.

          • ReverendTed says:

            A: “It’s a tortilla with meat, cheese, or vegetables.”
            Q: “What are: quesadillas, tacos, enchiladas, tostadas, nachos, chalupas?”

      • varro says:

        MST3K did a skit on randomly assigning adjectives to a snack, obviously inspired by Taco Bell.

  10. Preyfar says:

    I like Taco Bell, but the last few times I went there the food we got was appallingly bad. Missing key components (like, say, any and all meat or beans?) or just horribly rushed. Really kinda turned me off.

    That and pretty much everything on their menu tastes the same. There’s just only so many ways to make a burrito or taco different.

  11. George4478 says:

    How about you go back to the big shells for Taco Supremes? Big tortillas for Burrito Supremes?

    I was a Taco Supreme, not a Taco “Supreme”! Less sarcasm, more taco!

    • framitz says:

      Why bother when Carl’s Jr. Green Burrito locations sell stuff at similar prices, far better quality and at least 3x the food for the money. Oh and they sell traditional tex/mex instead of made up garbage.

      • George4478 says:

        Because, according to the Carl Jr website, the nearest Green Burrito location is 964 miles from my house in Georgia.

        • tooluser says:

          That’s no excuse. You need a road trip. Video it and I bet they would pay you to put it in a commercial. But don’t give them most of the video until they give you an advance.

          Difficulty: You and anyone who accompanies you must actually be interesting to watch for 30-60 seconds.

        • Zachary Jacob Zblewski says:

          Seeing as you’re in a Hardee’s area (not Carl’s Jr.), you’ll want to look for Red Burrito instead of Green Burrito. I know they have some in Georgia.

  12. majortom1981 says:

    I cannot eat at taco bell anymore after finding out i cannot have annatto extract. Its in everything now adays . Gives me severe migraines.

  13. tinmanx says:

    If they can make the shell not soggy after 10 minutes and not crack in half after the first bite, I’m sold.

    • caradrake says:

      If they can make it so it’s delivered to me without being broken in half by whoever made it, I’m in.

    • framitz says:

      They would have to use real tortillas to make the shells properly. They haven’t done that in a very long time, they just the bogus nasty ones now.

  14. FreeMarketFan says:

    If I want something that resembles fast “Mexican” I’ll get some El Pollo Locco or some Baja Fresh. Taco Hell is just going to result in a stomach ulcer as that fire sauce eats through my stomach

    • ahecht says:

      I’m still pissed that the only El Pollo Loco in Massachusetts closed just one month after I moved close enough to visit regularly.

  15. Bagels says:

    so your hands will turn all orange after eating a taco?

  16. polishhillbilly says:

    Taco bell and White Castle, keeping the toilet paper industry in business.

  17. DonnieZ says:

    After that woman sued Taco Bell for use of the word “meat” when their meat filling was less than 40% meat, I refuse to eat at Taco Bell.

    I actually was just having this discussion with my wife the other day, in which I indicated that White Castle was now higher on the food chain than Taco Bell.

    Screw messing with the shell, it tasted fine. Give me more meat. Oh, and if you’re going to have a premium meat offering like steak or chicken, please don’t let it be rubbery in texture or smell like cat food.

  18. dolemite says:

    Eh. Everywhere I look in my town (like every 1/2 mile), there are real Mexican restaurants. They have real quesos cheese, real beef, vegetables, etc. For lunch, the wife and I can get 2 drinks, 2 meals for around $13 bucks. I mean…if all you have is Taco Bell and their squirt ‘cheeses’ and beeflike substances…well I guess you have to go with that.

    • rpm773 says:

      Is Taco Bell any cheaper than $13 for something comparable any more?

      I mean, it used to be that you never knew what you were eating, but you would bust a gut in there trying to spend more than $4/person. They had that going for them. Now, not so much.

  19. Sian says:

    In the future, all restaurants are Taco Bell!

  20. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    I loves me some Taco Bell. But Doritos are disgusting…for the life of me I can’t imagine why anyone finds them palatable.

  21. Herah says:

    If they’d take the gluten out of their taco meat, I’d totally eat there again.

  22. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    No Greg, your bottom line is suffering because people like me finally figured out wthat your food tastes like crap, and it’s garbage from a dietary/nutrient perspective and stopped going. I cannot be won back. You food tastes bad dude.

  23. framitz says:

    I used to like Taco Bell, about 20+ years ago.
    Every time they add some nonsense item to their menu it drives me further away from ever visiting a Taco Bell again

  24. cheapskate says:

    On 11/21/12 it was reported Taco Bell is cutting 105 jobs in Irvine and the nation. Pricier food shoud do the trick in this economy according to what Taco Bell management person? How about stuffing those tacos FULL with more concentration on the Value Menu?

  25. Jeff asks: "WTF could you possibly have been thinking? says:

    I make nachos at home out of Nacho cheese Doritos. Have for years. I might like these.

  26. Extended-Warranty says:

    How can everyone be so mad at this news?!

  27. tooluser says:

    They need a Bananas Foster dessert taco. A semi-soft cookie for the shell (less crispy than a regular taco shell), ripe banana chunks and dark sugar sauce as the filling (omit the rum, since most people don’t like that), and a choice of whipped cream or chocolate sauce for the topping. Perhaps with chopped almonds as well.

    The whipped cream may not be replaced with “whipped topping”, but *may* be replaced with Twinkie filling.

    This is a winner, folks.

    Or perhaps just a Twinkie Taco. Double plus good.

  28. balthisar says:

    I’m going to be one of the rare posters here who says he likes Taco Bell. It’s good, fast, and dirt cheap. Of course, I don’t go there for Mexican Food, because it’s not Mexican Food. The only reference I can find to “Mexico” on their entire website is “Mexican Pizza.”

    Some of the Chinese restaurants are worse; they actually dare to call their American food “Chinese.”

    • Draw2much says:

      You aren’t the only one. The Taco Bells near my place are great. Clean, nice employees and generally they make the food right. I guess the management is just pretty good in general for our area. (Our McDonalds are the same too–except for the one in Walmart. But I kinda blame Walmar for that…) The food from these places has *never* given me… welll….. “rumbles in my tumblies”, as a Pooh Bear would say.

      Haters are gonna hate, I guess. ;)

  29. MECmouse says:

    We prefer the home made tacos, and like Magical Pig said, “If I want a taco, I want a taco.”

  30. Draw2much says:

    I really really wanna try some of these. When are they coming to my area? ;)

  31. podunkboy says:

    When I see a restaurant promising that they’re re-formulating everything on the menu, it tells me that their food was crap before, and it’ll likely still be crap after, just a different flavor of crap. And likely higher-priced crap now.

  32. Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

    Yo dawg, I heard you like junk food so we put fake meat-o in a Dorito so you can barf while you scarf.

  33. TheCorporateGeek Says Common Sense Is The Key says:

    Taco Bell is like the orphaned child of the fast food industry. It seems each week they come up with some corny lame item to put on their menu. They do this to keep themselves in business but I’m not so sure it’s working. Everytime I drive by one, even during peak hours they’re practically empty.

    Good fast food places don’t need to change their menu weekly…….or even at all..

  34. joescratch says:

    “a breakthrough product designed to reinvent the taco”

    Amazing how one little phrase can depress me so much.

  35. trimetrov says:

    We already have doughnuts as burger buns. How much further can we take this meal/snack hybridization? Twizzler pasta? Butterfinger breadsticks? Chocolate syrup soup?

  36. Fine Material says:

    If they want me to come back they should stop cutting back on everything on their menu. Nachos used to be real nachos with a variety of toppings, now it’s just beans meat and a spoonful of cheese. Spend the extra 7 cents and make real nachos please taco bell.

  37. finbar says:

    I hope they fix the beans, some years back they just stopped tasting as good and became prone to being undercooked.