Taco Bell to roll out Doritos tacos

The chain is adding new products and a new slogan to create some much-needed buzz.

By Kim Peterson Feb 20, 2012 1:04PM
Credit: (© Reed Saxon/AP)
Caption: Taco Bell restaurantCan a Doritos taco save Taco Bell?

The fast-food chain is in a bit of a slump, seeing sales fall amid increasing competition from Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG). Taco Bell has lost some buzz, its brand damaged by a recent lawsuit questioning the quality of the beef in its tacos.

So now the chain, owned by Yum Brands (YUM), is trying to mount a comeback. And key to its revival is a taco shell made entirely out of Doritos. The new line of Doritos Locos Tacos has been in test mode, with a national roll-out scheduled for March 8.

The Doritos tacos come with a cardboard holder to keep customer hands from getting covered with orange cheese dust, according to USA Today. Taco Bell is considering using shells made from Cool Ranch Doritos as well.

Taco Bell's CEO once described his company as the Hyundai of fast food, with Chipotle as the BMW. The following video discusses those comments.

Post continues below.
The idea sprung from a deal Taco Bell already had with Frito-Lay, owned by PepsiCo (PEP), to add Fritos to its Beefy Crunch Burrito. In the markets where the taco is being tested, three in 10 customers are ordering the tacos, USA Today reported. That's enough to make Yum Brands -- and the fast-food industry -- think that the Doritos taco could be one of the biggest hits of the year.

And it might help Taco Bell recover some momentum in the face of a growing threat from Chipotle, which plans to open as many as 165 new stores in 2012 on top of the 1,230 it already operates.

Taco Bell has more ideas to juice its business, USA Today reports. Here are other initiatives the chain plans:

Breakfast burritos. Some locations are selling burritos made with eggs and sausage. Breakfast will be expanded nationwide over the next two years.

Cantina Bell. In the same vein as Chipotle, Taco Bell is trying the Cantina Bell line of products, made with more natural ingredients.

New slogan. No more telling customers to "think outside the bun." Now Taco Bell is trying to promote a lifestyle with the saying "Live Más," or "live more" in Spanish.

All strong and innovative ideas. But will they be enough to turn Taco Bell around?

Tags: CMGPEPYUM
45Comments
Feb 20, 2012 1:34PM
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Their Problem is their pricing - 4 Tacos and a medium drink set me back almost $8 the other day. I was shocked!!! It use to be the cheapest of all the fast food places.

Also their menu is getting too complicated!

Feb 20, 2012 5:17PM
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I'll stay with Taco Bell. At least they hire legal workers. They use E-Verify. Chipotle just recently got raided for hiring illegals. With so many unemployed, Chipotle should be hiring legals, not illegals. I'll stay with the company that believes in hiring legal workers, Taco Bell!
Feb 20, 2012 6:49PM
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Doritos tacos?  Stoners everywhere are rejoicing.
Feb 20, 2012 3:55PM
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chipotle's a rip off! and taco bell customers don't cross over.

 

no story here!

Feb 20, 2012 5:30PM
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Nec15

The lawsuit against Taco Bell was dropped by the law firm without any real explaination. Most likely a bunch of lawyers looking for a quick payday. Once they realized it wasn't going to be so quick or easy, they backed down.  The problem with that is that it's front page news when that sort of law suit is announced, but you didn't hear much about it's dismissal. 

  While I am in no way a fan of Taco Bell, it's a shame they've had to spend millions to counteract what turned out to be bogus claims. In a class action suit against Taco Bell, I'd guess the lawyers would have ended up with millions while the customers got a coupon for a free taco.

Feb 20, 2012 5:56PM
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In my opinion, Taco Bell is the best of the fast food choices, as long as certain items are chosen. 
For example, their beef is blended with oat flour, and oats are high fiber.  Beans are blended with soy oil, again, not a bad choice.  Beans are high fiber and high in all the essential minerals, and soy is high in Omega 3.  For my money, I pick Taco Bell for a quick meal that clearly beats the rest of the fast food chains. 
Feb 20, 2012 2:32PM
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Why don't they try putting "real" beef in their menu?
Feb 20, 2012 3:04PM
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I have really never had a problem with the quality or taste of Taco Bell food.  Recently I have noticed the prices have been inching higher.  The draw to Taco Bell for me was always decent food at cheap prices, but now that the prices have gone up, I have stopped going there as often.  As far as competing with Chipotle, I think their prices are WAY too high and have never been a huge fan of their food.  If I am going to pay the prices Chipotle is charging, I will just find an authentic burrito place in the area and eat there.  I am starting to feel the same way about Taco Bell with their recent pricing. 
Feb 20, 2012 3:42PM
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I'm very excited to have the Doritos taco finally arrive... an idea I had many years ago. Although I haven't been to Taco Bell for quite a few years, I plan to eat these, and often. If EVERYONE would do that, maybe someday we'll be able to buy Dorito taco shells from the grocery store. YYYYYYUUUUUMMMMM!!!!!!!!!
Feb 20, 2012 2:51PM
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The real problem with Taco Hell is their food is cheaply made, low quality and it tastes like it.

They pushed out the better "Tex-Mex" chains like Zantigos in the past and now they're at the other end of the stick. So how does it feel.

 

When load up your bland burritos with cheap fillers like beans, rice and that thing you call "ground beef filling" is it any wonder when a quality alternative comes along, you don't find people crowding to your outlets.

 

If you served decent food at a decent price and didn't try to cut costs maybe you'll survive.

Also what's the deal with all the mexican people who seem to exclusively  work at your outlets who can bearly speak English?

 

Forgive me but Taco Bell is about as far from authentic Mexican food as you can get so I doubt they're there to give everyone pointers on how to cook it.

Feb 20, 2012 7:16PM
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I love Toxic Hell...ate there 2 hours ago...cheap food you can send the hubby to get late after the kids go to bed and you're too beat to make anything and you just need something that's not a burger
Feb 20, 2012 5:44PM
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Taco Bell is good for fast food. I don't like the Dorito's or Frito's idea at all. I would like to see them offer some more chicken value meals. I would pay extra for all white meat chicken but you can only order off of this limited menu. If they had a value meal where you just add 2.00 for chicken, that would be awesome!
Feb 20, 2012 7:54PM
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I worked at taco bell throughout high school and college! There is nothing wrong with the food!!! So many rumors that could not even possibly happen! I would eat there anytime! so everyone who has never been in the back of a taco bell or really know where the food comes from should keep there mouth shut! obviously the law suit about the meat was dropped for a reason....of course the meat is not $5.00 a pound meat b/c then it would be a lot more expensive...but it is not meat that you are unable  to eat!!! people just need to get a life and stop suing for stupid sh!t!!! GO TACO BELL!!!:)
Feb 20, 2012 3:18PM
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When the Encherto first came out it was the best burrito out there. Now they just slap some sauce over it and that's about it. They have really ruined themselves by being greedy and shoddy service. We don't eat there anymore... 

Feb 20, 2012 8:55PM
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Taco Bell will be the last surviving franchise in the future- From Demolition Man...LOL
Feb 20, 2012 4:16PM
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Taco Bell's food quality has been declining for years. I just wish we had DEL TACO in our area so that TB might finally see the end of it's days! Bring back some of the old-school menu items- they might make it.
Feb 20, 2012 7:40PM
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I find it hard to believe that anybody really cares about this stuff. It's crappy fast food, all of it. BK

McD, Taco bell etc etc. I really prefer to cook my own food the way I like it!

Am  I  the new minority?

 

Feb 20, 2012 5:03PM
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If Taco Bell wants to give competition in the breakfast arena they have to open earlier in the morning. Our local Taco bell open at 8:00am to serve breakfast, we are already seeing patients by then.

Taco Bell has a long way to go to serve food that is comperable to Chipotle, although I would like to try the Doritos taco.

Feb 20, 2012 8:57PM
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Now Taco Bell is trying to promote a lifestyle with the saying "Live Más," or "live more" in Spanish.

I don't recommend it  as a marketing strategy. A lot of people are already not happy with 'Push 1 for English, push 2 for Spanish'.

Feb 20, 2012 6:53PM
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Since I live in Texas, I have access to many excellent mexican and tex-mex places to eat. I do not understand how both a taco bell and a taco bueno can exist in this town. Obviously, a lot of people eat there, travelers maybe?

 

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