Taco Bell milestone: $1 billion in Doritos Locos sold

The stunning success at Yum Brands' chain reflects one of the biggest turnarounds in the industry.

By Benzinga Oct 17, 2013 3:30PM
Taco Bell restaurant in Richmond, Virginia (© Steve Helber/AP Photo)By Bruce Kennedy

A fast-food marriage made in heaven, or yet another sign of the apocalypse? 

Either way, Taco Bell recently reached a remarkable milestone, with sales for its Doritos Locos Tacos -- which were launched in March of 2012 -- passing the $1 billion mark.

Taco Bell, owned by Yum Brands (YUM), partnered with Doritos, which is owned by Frito Lay, a division of PepsiCo (PEP), to come up with a meat-filled taco wrapped in a Doritos nacho cheese shell, complete with the snack food's trademark: its get-into-everything, orange-tinted powdered cheese.

"It has been the biggest launch in Taco Bell history," Greg Creed, company CEO, told the Daily Beast this past March. "Last year, we added 15,000 people to handle the growth."

The insanely popular item uses Doritos packaging when served, and is part of Taco Bell's successful "Fourth Meal" ad campaign -- geared at hungry snackers (or, as the Huffington Post snarked, young stoners with the late-night munchies) out on the town.

Even the venerable New York Times has taken notice of the Doritos Locos phenomenon --

with a video graphic explaining how the snack has been scientifically engineered to "target taste buds" and make the consumer not only enjoy the eating experience but crave more after they're done.

"What these are trying to do is excite every stinking taste bud receptor you have in your mouth," food scientist Steven A. Witherly told The Times.

Taco Bell's triumph is certainly welcome news for Yum Brands, which earlier this month reported a disappointing third-quarter performance.

In a press statement, Yum chairman and CEO David C. Novak pointed to a "slower-than-expected" recovery at the corporation's crucial KFC operations in China -- which have been hit hard by a sales drop following both concerns over bird flu spreading in Asia and reports that some of KFC's Chinese suppliers had chemical residues in their chickens.

And in that same statement Novak pointed out with pride that Taco Bell has “produced seven consecutive quarters of positive same-store sales growth,” which was highly digestible news for investors.

More from Benzinga

Oct 17, 2013 4:47PM
And it's a billion dollars well spent, thank you very much!   I loves me some Doritos Los Tacos, once a week or every two weeks, it's a tasty treat for those who like this kind of food, and apparently, a real thorn in the sides of some who hate the Bell.  Sorry 'bout it!
Oct 17, 2013 7:19PM
Oct 17, 2013 7:25PM
I've been eating doritos with tacos since I was a kid.

I put doritos in a bowl and put all the taco fixings on top, mix it up and eat.

Cheap, good, awesome taste no different than taco bell, I which i like also.

Mom called it taco salad.
Oct 17, 2013 6:35PM
I enjoy nacho cheese Doritos and enjoy Taco Bell tacos (can never make the meat the same at home!) I wish they would market the Doritos Taco Shells in stores!  Didn't care much for the cool ranch version. Haven't tried the fiery one.
Oct 18, 2013 9:41AM
Oct 18, 2013 11:07AM
Lots of whiny self righteous people in these comments. If you don't like Taco Bell, don't eat it. Simple as that. I find it almost comical that people are essentially saying "I don't like this, so everyone else shouldn't like it". Grow up, bunch of babies. This is what's wrong with this country, everyone thinks they know better than everyone else and wants to force their enlightened views on everyone.
Oct 18, 2013 9:42AM
hey msn tell taco bell the next taco should be sweet and spicy chilly
Oct 17, 2013 9:05PM
The fiery tacos are the best if you are into Heat. Add a little Fire sauce and Oh Baby. Its Love....
Oct 17, 2013 5:30PM
They are incredibly delicious and try the Lays Doritos Locos chips- awesome too.
Oct 17, 2013 5:33PM
I still need to try one of those. It never seemed like a good value.
Oct 18, 2013 12:51AM
Somebody tell Taco Bell to make the food items look like the pictures on the menu.
I keep getting half empty tacos that are higher priced every time I go there.

Oct 17, 2013 5:25PM
I do like the Cool Ranch version...now if they lost the greasy meat and the plastic cheese...
Oct 17, 2013 6:45PM

So when is Taco Bell going to start using real ground beef instead of a meat product?

Oct 18, 2013 9:47AM
One idea/improvement.......15k jobs......careers flourished.....amazing!
Oct 18, 2013 12:32PM

Those things are like crack, if it were made with pink slime. Have one, want more!


Oct 17, 2013 7:54PM
Never tried them yet.Too far to drive to get them.
Oct 17, 2013 9:11PM

Don't knock if you haven't tried it.


It's the sauce that does it, HOT sauce!


Of course it doesn't come close to the yummy goodness

of a glass of tepid soy milk!

And another thing: what have you got against dog food anyway!

You have never gone hungry, have you?

I can't believe people put that crap into their bodies. 
Oct 18, 2013 7:17AM
I love my fast food every once in a while (Whataburger for the win), but 1 billion dollars on this crap? Hello obesity epidemic. 
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