Taco Bell's Doritos Locos Tacos providing blueprint for new menu item success

Mathew Kearney

Mathew Kearney

Aug 21, 2013 – Off the Menu

LOS ANGELES , August 21, 2013 () – New food items appear on fast-food menus all the time. But few achieve enough popularity to become permanent additions. Taco Bell’s Doritos Locos Tacos is one of those select few. With approximately 600 million of the tacos sold since its debut in March 2012, the product is largely responsible for Taco Bell’s financial turnaround.

With the newest flavor of the product, Fiery Doritos, set to debut tomorrow, let’s list some of the reasons for the product’s success:

1.) The price is right. At $1.39 for the regular version and $1.69 for the supreme version (which includes tomatoes and sour cream), the Doritos Locos Taco was priced low enough for people to try the product and low enough for repeat business. I can’t express enough how critical the right price is for a new product. If it’s priced too high, people may try it once as a novelty, but they have to absolutely love it to keep coming back. At a low price, the satisfaction bar, quite frankly, is lowered and success is more likely. Remember: You can always raise the price later (e.g., Carl’s Jr.’s Big Carl Burger)

2.) Name recognition. Everyone knows Doritos. It’s one of the most popular brands of chips in the nation. So having a name like that in front of your new product automatically appeals to that brand’s loyal customers. Even those who don’t normally frequent Taco Bell may try the product. In short, the Doritos name can appeal to a huge range of both new and existing Taco Bell customers.

3.) Don’t reinvent the wheel. One of Taco Bell’s most popular items is its regular taco. Makes sense, right? With the exception of the taco shell, the Doritos Locos Taco is identical to the fast-food chain’s signature item. So it’s different, but not so different that it would turn off your main taco customers. It’s brilliant. You take your best item, make a small change, give it a great name and presto: 600 million sold.
Taco Bell has hit the jackpot with the Doritos Locos Taco and has provided a blueprint to help ensure success for any fast-food chain’s new items.

Nevin Barich is the Food & Beverage Analyst for Industry Intelligence Inc. He can be reached at nevin.barich@industryintel.com

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