A pair of former interns say they came up with the concept in 1995—and even have old promotional materials to back it up. Taco Bell dismisses the claim as merely ‘an idea without execution.’
|Scooped by Kayla Myers|
People all over the United States and the world love Taco Bell and when the fast food chain released their new line of Doritos Locos Tacos in 2012, it quickly became a big hype among Taco Bell fans. The Doritos Locos Tacos line features three different types of Doritos taco shells, nacho cheese, cool ranch and the newest addition, fiery and together, these three food items account for very large sales in Taco Bell terms.
According to this article found from prdaily.com, four ex-interns who used to work along with the fast food restaurant, are claiming the rights to the idea of the Doritos Locos Tacos. According to the ex-interns, the four came up with the idea for Doritos Locos Tacos approximately 20 years ago, and although they are not asking for money, they are asking for the credit they feel they deserve. This is not the first time that Taco Bell has dealt with a crisis such as this. Over the course of Taco Bell becoming a large staple in the fast food industry, people all over the country and quite possibly the world have claimed the rights to certain food items on their menu. For example, just last year Taco Bell was sued by a federal prisoner who claimed the idea for the Doritos Locos Tacos were created by him. He however did not have the documentation to prove it and did not succeed in suing the company. Today, the four ex-interns are claiming they had the same idea for the tacos, and unlike the gentleman who attempted to sue Taco Bell, they have the documentation and paper work to prove their case.
The group of four has come forth and provided documents they created back in the year 1995 when they were involved in a competition to see who could come up with new and bright business ideas. The documentation included decals, flyers and also counter cards for their idea of "The All-New Dorito Tacos." Even with their evidence, Taco Bell is refusing to give the ex-interns any credit, a debate that continues even on Taco Bell's Facebook page. However, people are not buying it, stating that anyone, anywhere at anytime could say they came up with the idea. Getting the credit is just a bit more difficult to prove. Upon the ongoing issue, the brand’s director of public affairs and engagement had this to say regarding the ex-issue, "Good ideas can come from anywhere, but an idea without execution does not make a successful product. The concept of making a taco shell out of Doritos may have come to people’s minds, which is why we've had no shortage of those who have claimed it was their idea."
Even though the ex-interns don't work at Taco Bell anymore, I still consider their story a prime example of a case involving employee relations and what could be done to prevent instances like this from happening again. Although I feel like I can relate this case to Benoit and his Image Restoration strategies, I'm going to try my hand at relating this case specifically to codes of ethics. Found in the book "Adventures in Public Relations: Case Studies and Critical Thinking" created and written by David W. Guth and Charles Marsh, beginning on page 241, ethics are values, thoughts and beliefs that a company holds dear to their mission statement or even their own thoughts in the world. I feel that with this case in general, a sort of code of ethics was in fact broken by Taco Bell considering the fact that these ex-interns once worked for the company and they provided a substantial amount of evidence stating that they did in face have an idea to create the Doritos Locos Tacos. Now, whether or not they brought the idea up to the Taco Bell CEO is a whole different story, but overall I feel that the company should have given them some sort of recognition for their ideas, especially when they have immediate proof that they did have a similar idea coming from somewhere.
Other than ethics coming into play, I've decided that I am going to relate this case to Benoit. I feel that within the Image Restoration strategies, Taco Bell used the tactic of minimization by stating that people are always saying that they came up with a certain idea. By saying that tons of people want credit that they cannot prove, Taco Bell is trying to explain that the situation at hand is not as big of a deal as it appears. Like the spokesperson said, people all over the world try to do this all of the time, but you cannot receive proper recognition if you cannot provide proof or your idea was not done with execution. Overall, I feel that Taco Bell can do whatever it wants to, if it decides to offer recognition, then so be it. If not, well like the tactic of minimization states, they will continue to downplay the issue.