Taco Bell says Doritos taco breaks sales record

Thanks to the U.S. bishops' conference religious liberty crusaders (Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop William Lori, Anthony Picarello, Richard Doerflinger and the disappearing Sr. Mary Ann Walsh -- has she resigned?) who have been trumpeting the so-called "Taco Bell exemption" from the HHS contraception mandate that would allow commercial businesses religious liberty rights to withhold contraception from their employees' health plans, I've become more aware of the goings-on of the real Taco Bell, which has introduced a blockbuster new product, the Doritos Locos Tacos. It turns out to be the most successful product launch in the California-based chain's 50-year history. I can't believe there's no divine coincidence.

The Orange County Register offers this story:

Irvine[, Calif.]-based Taco Bell sold 100 million Doritos Locos Tacos in about 10 weeks – making it the largest and most successful product launch in Taco Bell's 50-year history, the company said.

Prior to the debut of the Doritos taco, The Crunchwrap Supreme was Taco Bell's most successful product introduction. In 2005, Taco Bell debuted the flour tortilla stuffed with seasoned beef, nacho cheese sauce, sour cream and a tostada shell. So popular, it became a permanent option on the menu in January 2006.

Taco Bell spokesman Rob Poetsch said the Crunchwrap "has been dethroned" by the Doritos Locos Tacos, which debuted March 8. The so-called re-invented taco is made with a nacho cheese-flavored Doritos shell. The $1.29 taco, stuffed with seasoned beef, lettuce and tomatoes, is served in a Doritos-branded "taco jacket" or holster.

It's everything Taco Bell fans expect: wacky, portable and cheap.

Taco Bell Chief executive Greg Creed has called the Doritos taco a "flavor pairing just waiting to happen."

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And, more flavored shells by Doritos are expected, including a Cool Ranch version of the Doritos taco, Taco Bell said.

To put some perspective on the 100 million tacos sold, Taco Bell notes that McDonald's sold its first 100 million burgers in 1958 -- 18 years after the first McDonald's burger stand opened, and three years after Ray Kroc started his first McDonald's franchise.

More importantly, the Doritos Locos Taco is responsible for lifting Taco Bell sales. In mid-April, Taco Bell reported a 6 percent increase in same-store sales for the first quarter. During that time, Taco Bell debuted the Doritos taco.

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