I was hoping that eating a Doritos flavored taco would inspire a few grafs of humorous prose, but instead it just spurred sorrow. Now, sitting at my desk after enduring my arterial assault, I feel depressed. I won't call Taco Bell's creation good or bad. It tastes exactly like what you'd expect: An ice cream scoop of processed meat stuffed into a giant nacho cheese Doritos shaped like a taco shell.
The whole mess is stuffed into cardboard sleeve covered in social media touch points for Facebook and Twitter. Frito-Lay's logo is stamped on it too. You can almost see the desperate board meeting where a bunch of suits got together to talk about sales, growth margins and market synergy.
That's how the Doritos Locos Taco came about. It was invented in an office like the one I'm sitting in now and that creation says a lot about the portion of our food system that serves millions of Americans every day.
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The Doritos Locos Taco isn't the only attempt Taco Bell has garnered to lash out against competing fast food new-comers like Chipotle. They recently created a new breakfast menu (they had one in the '90s and it failed then too), they've tried Cantina tacos (a bastardized version of Mexican street tacos, which failed) and they're preparing to roll out a larger Cantina menu meant to mimic Chipotle's offering at a lower cost. I'm going to guess that effort fails as well.
Sales at Taco Bells have been slumping for some time. CFO Rick Carucci reported that a sales decline, which started in response to a lawsuit over that terrible beef, had continued into last fall. The "seasoned beef" has such a bad rap it needs its own PR campaign to try and prove it doesn't suck, yet it still does.
Recent numbers show a deepening trend for Taco Bell's sales. And while I'm sure everyone at YUM Inc. (the company that owns Taco Bell) has their thinking caps on, I wish they'd pay me a million dollars to teach them the simplest path to profitability.
Focus on making food that tastes good.