Will Taco Bell Score Again With Cool Ranch Locos?
After weeks of hype, Taco Bell left hoards of hungry diners with blue balls when they made their run for the border last Wednesday. The long-awaited Dorito’s Cool Ranch Locos Taco, scheduled for launch March 7, was teased on Taco Bell’s Facebook page a day early. But while millions of taco fans got the message and scrambled for the nearest Taco Bell, only about 4 percent of Taco Bells saw the announcement. Needless to say, the miscommunication got the Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco off to a rocky start.
“I've been waiting for this taco for a long time and heard the announcement via Facebook and Twitter,” one disappointed fan, Brian Terwilliger of Kissimmee, Fla., said in an e-mail to Nation's Restaurant News. “Driving around to be denied [at three Taco Bells] is outrageous considering the advertisement you guys [Taco Bell] released on this taco.“
Still, the new menu item is expected to be Taco Bell’s second-biggest release ever, after the original Doritos Locos Taco broke records and single-handedly created 15,000 jobs last year. Yes, ladies and gentleman, while Washington is still scrambling to figure out how to get the US unemployment rate below the 7-percent hump, one little neon-orange taco did what few others could. Since its 2012 debut, customers have purchased 375 million Locos Tacos—about one million per day. The taco helped Taco Bell sales rise 8 percent, and the jobs were needed to keep up with the extra business.
Can Taco Bell do it again with the Cool Ranch Locos Taco? A lot of people have been anxiously awaiting the Locos sequel, and Taco Bell is promoting it with the slogan, “Collect all two,” but at least one person associated with the original Locos Taco thinks the Cool Ranch variety is a mistake.
Arkansas’ Todd Mills was behind the push for the original Doritos Locos Taco. The vice president of media and technology for the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce led an online crusade beginning in 2009 urging Taco Bell and Frito Lay to merge forces and create a taco with a Doritos shell. He wrote a letter to Frito Lay and created a Facebook page that ultimately drew several thousand followers. But Mills thinks the Cool Ranch Locos Taco is a terrible idea.
“It doesn't make sense to me really,” Mills told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “You think nacho cheese. That's something you'd think of with a taco. I don't know if anybody dips their tacos in cool ranch.“
Of course neither Taco Bell nor Frito Lay asked for Mills’ opinion, and they probably could care less if a Cool Ranch Locos Taco makes sense. As long as it sells. And Taco Bell CEO Greg Creed thinks he’s got another hit. Creed told the Daily Beast he believes the chain can add 2,000 new restaurants in the next 10 years, “because what we have is proprietary and exclusive. Nobody else can make a Cool Ranch Doritos taco. And that’s just in the US.”
[Image via Taco Bell]