Man who ‘cooked up’ idea for Doritos Locos Tacos — but never made a buck off it — dies at 41


A Regular Joe who “masterminded” the blockbuster marriage between Doritos and Taco Bell — but never asked for a cent in return — has died after a battle with cancer.
Todd Mills, of Little Rock, Ark., died on Nov. 28, Thanksgiving morning, after a months-long fight with brain and lung cancer, USA Today reported. He was 41.
Mills, an IT honcho at the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce, claimed he hatched the seed of an idea for the wildly popular Doritos Locos Taco in 2009 while noshing on Taco Bell and watching TV, the Arkansas Times reported.
When a Doritos commercial came on, “I looked at my wife and said, ‘How awesome would it be if this taco shell was a Dorito?'” Mills told the paper.

He lobbied Dorito parent Frito-Lay and was shot down, but soon got stomachs rumbling with a Facebook campaign dedicated to the idea.
The page, featuring goofy pics of celebs and movie characters holding Dorito-dusted taco shells, garnered thousands of “likes” and generates buzz on foodie blogs.
Taco Bell eventually caught a whiff of the “movement” and flew Mills out to its California headquarters, where they’d begun quietly tinkering with a nacho cheese-shelled taco, the Times reported.
“It was good,” Mills said of the taste test. “I got one made by the people in the test kitchen, so it was exactly to spec.”

The resulting product went on to be Taco Bell’s biggest seller ever.
To date, the fast-food giant has sold more than 600 million of them and credited 15,000 added jobs last year to the product’s success.
Still, Mills never saw a dime from his brainchild — but never bellyached about it.
“Todd being Todd, he never asked for anything,” longtime pal Jimmy Looney told USA Today. “He said, ‘I just want my tacos.'”

In an interview with the Arkansas Times last year, Mills swatted away talk that Taco Bell cheated him out of a big payday.
“Everybody that I tell about this says, ‘You should be getting some money off these.'” Mill said. “I’ve never once said that I deserved any sort of compensation.”
However, “If they wanted to send me a big taco check, that would be alright,” he said.

They eventually did.

After friends and family launched a donation site to help pay Mills’ medical bills over the summer, Taco Bell kicked in $1,000 to help them reach their goal.
The company called Mills “a true friend.”
“We are honored to have had his support through the Doritos for Taco Shells Movement on Facebook, and we admire his strength and optimism during his recent battle,” the company told USA Today. “Our thoughts and sympathies are with Todd’s family during this time.”
Mills is survived by his wife and two young daughters.
His funeral was held on Monday.
Afterwards, a few pals went to Taco Bell and chowed down on Doritos Locos Tacos in his honor, Looney told USA Today.
“(He was) a guy with a good idea and a good heart,” Looney said.


Related Posts with Thumbnails

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *