A taco shell made out of Nacho Cheese Doritos? Where have you been all my life?
Foodies and gluttons for gut punishment may not see eye to eye -- or taste bud to taste bud -- here, but Taco Bell's new Doritos Locos Taco is turning heads. The new treat from Yum! Brands' (YUM) Mexican food chain had its launch last week -- and it's already getting plenty of publicity. Not all of it is good.
Saturday Night Live skewered the offering over the weekend, joking that it was Taco Bell's way of saying "We hate you!"
Fast Foodies Reinventing Food
Taco Bell isn't afraid to take chances. Remember the "Yo quiero Taco Bell" Chihuahua? How about the Bell Beefer, Taco Bell's short-lived run at serving taco ingredients on a bun? There were also Taco Bell's brazen if not ridiculed marketing campaigns calling for a fourth meal and the drive-thru diet.
It's not just Taco Bell. Every major fast-food chain has its history of blunders. McDonald's (MCD) may be the industry darling as the world's largest restaurant chain, but take a moment to pay your respects to some of the menu items that faltered along the way.
Arch Deluxe: Mickey D's shot at making a high-end burger and marketed as a sandwich for grownups.
McDLT: This burger was served in two halves with the lettuce and tomato and one bun on a cool end of the container and the beef patty, cheese, and other end of the bun in another side of the container.
Hula Burger: Ray Kroc's own meatless creation, substituting a pineapple for the beef.
More Weird Combos to Come
It's not a coincidence that Taco Bell is playing nice with Doritos. Yum! Brands -- the parent company of Taco Bell, KFC, and Pizza Hut -- was spun off by Doritos parent PepsiCo (PEP) several years ago.
This isn't even the first time that Taco Bell has worked salty snacks for PepsiCo's Frito-Lay subsidiary into its grub. It once had the Frito Burrito. Just last year, the menu added the Beefy Crunch Burrito stuffed with Flamin' Hot Fritos chips.
Be patient. It won't be long before you find Cheetos in your Gordita.
Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not own shares in any of the stocks in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of PepsiCo. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Yum! Brands, PepsiCo, and McDonald's. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a diagonal call position in PepsiCo.
5 Foodie Sites That Can Find You Fine Meals for Less
Doritos Tacos: The Latest Much-Mocked Fast Food Mash-Up Won't Be the Last
BiteHunter.com claims to provide more dining deals in real-time than any other player in the frugal-eating space. It monitors thousands of restaurants nationwide, sorts through the barrage of special dining offers zipping around social networks, daily deal sites, newspapers and magazines any given week, and pulls them together in a searchable database. The site allows consumers to find restaurant deals based on location, time of day and specific kinds of food, among other filters.
It just launched an app for the iPhone that includes a "Bite Now" feature with limited-time offers from companies such as Groupon and LivingSocial.Yelp reviews are available on the app, as well as reviews from Localeats.com.
The review site, which ranks the best cheap products and services, partners with Foursquare, the location-based mobile app, to provide picks for the best cheap restaurants in major cities nationwide. Cheapism taps its editors in local markets to review restaurants for affordability and quality. It pairs that input with reviews from sources such as Zagat, Yelp and Urban Spoon, as well as local magazines and newspapers. It then aggregates the reviews, making sure to get a clear positive consensus before recommending a restaurant.
The site bills itself as a portal to the world's bests local restaurants. Users can search by city, state, country or price point, as well as by types of cuisine or specific foods, such as clams or ribs. Other search options include "top 100 winners" and "best of category winners." It aggregates the opinions of critics and local bloggers, as well as "trusted friends and site visitors," according to the website. "So, if you see a restaurant listed here, you know it's good!" the site says.
Ueatcheap.com tracks restaurants that offer meals for $10 or less per person. On the site, users can locate eateries in their city and state, read restaurant reviews, add their own reviews, and sign up to receive coupons and updates of new restaurants in their area.
Restaurant.com, which aims to be a community matchmaker, "introducing great restaurants to great people," works a little differently than the aforementioned sites. Foodies save by purchasing one of the site's 45,000 discounted gift certificates to local restaurants around the country. Users can enter either a ZIP code or destination city to find offers for local gift certificates. They can also search the site by type of cuisine, average entree price, new restaurants, atmosphere, among other filters. Registered users can even make reservations on the site.