A Taco Shell Made of Doritos – What Took Taco Bell So Long? [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Mar15

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A Taco Shell Made of Doritos – What Took Taco Bell So Long? [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe]

Doritos tortilla chips – From Super Bowl to sleepovers, these snacks go everywhere and are eaten up by the millions. Now, the ultimate party treat just got better. Taco Bell introduces their newest creation – the Doritos Locos Tacos!

Taco Bell’s newest menu item is an upgrade of their standard and supreme tacos, by replacing the classic taco shell with one made out of Doritos!  The experiment underwent testing at several restaurants last year, and now these taco upgrades are flying out the door!

Taco Bell actually started off life as a hot dog stand, opened in San Bernardino, California by Glen Bell in 1946.  He would sell the original stand and open another focusing on tacos under the name Taco-Tia.  He would then gain a partner and start to sell franchises, including the first to a LA cop and the company grew rapidly. In 1978, PepsiCo would purchase it all.

Taco Bell serves a line of fast food tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos, novelty tacos, smoothies, and Mexican deserts.  The restaurant chain has grown significantly over the past few decades, including opening stores from Europe to Asia and on select military bases.  A number of Taco Bell Express locations are open in airports and colleges offering a scaled down menu.

Some Taco Bell’s overseas and in Canada also serve French fries.  The fries are offered in two flavors, Fiesta Fries (served with nacho toppings) and plain.  Some locations also offer chili cheese and seasoned fries as well.

The chain once had a popular Chihuahua mascot advertising patrons to “run for the border.”  Other past popular campaigns include “drop the chalupa,” “Think outside the bun,” and a Facebook promotion to gain enough signatures to get the federal government to produce more $2 bills to go along with their new $2 menu.

Taco Bell has been known for some wild public relations stunts including placing a large target in the Pacific Ocean, promising that if any piece of the falling Mir space station hit the target, every American would receive one free taco.  While that didn’t happen, their promotions during the 2007 and 2008 World Series did.  When a player stole a base in either of the series, every American was eligible for a free taco.

Doritos, first launched in the US in 1966 is owned by the Frio-Lay, which itself is a division of Pepsi-Co.  The seasoned tortilla chip is the second most popular chip sold in America.  They are available in several different flavors and the company adds and removes various flavors to the line on a regular basis.

Since Pepsi-Co has owned both companies for decades, the big question is – what took so long to bring these two together?

Volcano Taco

To keep an edge in the fast food marketplace, Taco Bell regularly introduces new, limited edition tacos.  A few years back, they introduced the Volcano Taco, featuring a fiery red shell and spicy cheese sauce.  The limited offering was so successful, that it was added to their permanent menu.

The Taco Bell limited edition Blackjack Tacos.

In 2009, they also introduced the Black Jack Taco for 89¢.  This taco was served in a black shell, with three cheeses, and a spicy sauce.  This limited time offering REALLY needs to come back!

Last year, the internet began to buzz when the new taco was being test marketed, which included a new shell made entirely of Doritos chips.  While the health conscious cringe at the idea of wrapping fast food taco meat inside a giant potato chip, the chain melded both of their worlds.  After raving reviews at the testing sites in Bakersfield, California, Fresno, California, and Toledo, Ohio; Taco Bell decided it was time to give it a go and ordered more than 50 million shells and built four new production lines for a national launch.

The newly released Taco Bell Doritos Loco Taco.

Fifty years after they first introduced their taco to America, the Doritos Loco Taco officially hit all locations at midnight on March 9th.  (Some locations are open that late offering a late night fourth meal menu.)  The launch comes at a time when Americans are still cutting back on big spending as our economy tries to recover.  Taco Bell is also in the midst of a make it or break it year after declining consumer spending, several e coli outbreaks, and most recently a lawsuit over whether or not what they are serving real  beef as the ads claim.  That lawsuit was thrown out, but the damage was done.

Taco Bell has also tried to lure in customers with low cost dollar menu side items.  They also began to sell $5 box meals full of tacos and drinks that could fill up just about anyone.  Many of the locations also now serve breakfast.  They’ve added smoothies and one of my favorites, Limeade Sparklers drinks.  The drinks of real lime juice, lime wedges, and lemon lime soda (with an additional splash of cherry syrup option) are in hopes of boosting sales.

The Doritos Loco Tacos are the same as the regular and supreme tacos on the restaurant’s menu, except the shell is replaced with a one made from a large Doritos chip.  The advertising shows the taco is served in an open Doritos bag, but it is actually served in a half moon cardboard box that is meant to keep the shell from cracking.  After all, who would want to pay more for a taco, only to get a broken shell?

I stopped by the location at the Newport Mall in Jersey City, New Jersey for dinner.  There were four customers in line in front of me and another three behind.  All of which were talking about the new Doritos Loco Tacos.  The two couples in front of me all ordered one per person and the group of three behind me were talking about doing the same.

There are three options for ordering.  The regular ($1.29), the supreme with the standard sour cream and tomatoes ($1.99), or the $5 box deal which includes the supreme, a Big Beef Burrito, a Crunchy Taco, and medium drink.

While $5 is a real good deal for all of that, I decided to order two supreme Doritos Loco Tacos and a burrito.

I really liked the presentation.   The cardboard holder does help to keep everything together and should be considered for all Taco Bell products.  I thought the taste was incredible.  The nacho cheese of the chip shell goes perfect with the meat, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, and tomatoes inside.  I added a hot sauce packet and that made it even better.

I didn’t find the shell two spicy and it tasted just like I was eating Doritos chips.  I even had the orange powder stain on my fingers as though I had just made my way through half a bowl.

The few cents upcharge for the Doritos shell is definitely worth it as long as the company doesn’t push the prices any higher.  Taco Bell already has a small upcharge for the Volcano Taco, so this brings the Doritos Taco in line costwise with the rest but crossing the $2 per taco threshold on this one will most likely turn customers away, who would normally add this on as a novelty to their meal.

The Doritos Locos Taco Supreme is 200 calories with 11g fat (170 calories, 9g fat for regular).  Not for the most health conscious, but not the worst food out there, either.  Taco Bell also has a low fat menu, so if you are concerned, you can balance this with some of their healthier choices.

The name is a bit confusing.  We don’t need the “Locos” to give this taco a three word name.  Couldn’t we have just called it a Doritos Taco?  That would make it much easier to remember and much easier to order.  I couldn’t remember all three names and the signs were all round me when I was ordering.

Judging from the line at the counter and the buzz on the internet, this could be a hit and the boost to business the chain needs.  As long as there are no shortages on the special shells, this one should be around for quite some time.

The company has put a massive advertising effort into the new taco and a new tagline “Live Más.”  They are also planning on launching a “Cool Ranch Doritos” shell this fall, which was also part of the initial testing.

Now, if Taco Bell would only bring back their touch screen ordering from the 90’s, just to hear the computer voice say, “guacamole!”  The touch screen machine was just easier as I often find their large menu a bit overwhelming.

THE 411

Name: Doritos Locos Tacos

Sold: Taco Bell restaurants

Cost: $1.29 regular or $1.99 supreme (on their website it’s advertised as $1.69 but that’s not what I paid in the mall food court)

Website: www.tacobell.com


These are worth a try.  The price is right and the taste is great.  It’s exactly what they advertise… a Taco Bell taco on the inside and Doritos on the outside.

The two combine for a really great and unique taste.  These could be the hit of the party and I would love to have a platter of these to watch a football game.  Taco Bell’s got a hit on their hands with these for sure!  If the sales ever dip at the restaurants, these shells would no doubt do well selling alongside the other Taco Bell branded products in the grocery store.

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Image credits: *grant*, daves cupboard, and cjhuang