Would you be surprised to know that the invention of Doritos was influenced by a trashcan at Disneyland?
In the early days of Disneyland, a restaurant named Casa de Fritos invented Doritos by repurposing stale tortillas they bought from a local vendor. The chips proved to be so popular they were eventually rolled out nationally by Frito-Lay in 1966.
Today the brands sells $1.48 billion of the chips every year.
Here’s how it all started…
How Doritos We’re Invented in a Trash Can
Casa de Fritos” was, unsurprisingly, all about the Fritos (corn chips). Customers got free chips, and they were incorporated into all of the dishes at the Disneyland restaurant.
All ingredients served at Casa de Fritos, such as the tortillas, chips, meat, beans, and fresh produce, were supplied by a company called Alex Foods, located just a few blocks from Disneyland.
One day, one of the salesmen from Alex Foods, making a delivery to Casa de Fritos, noticed stale tortillas in the garbage and gave the cook a little tip:
“fry them and sell them as chips instead of just throwing them away.”
So the cooks gave it a try and while they were at it, through in some seasoning. The result was an enormous success. Their customers couldn’t get enough of them.
Here’s how the company found an innovative way to sell them…
Who the Hell Was the Frito Kid?
Being a theme park restaurant, Casa de Frito, had a theme of their own. The company started selling chips from a “Frito Kid” vending machine. During the 1950s and 1960s, Disneyland guests could insert a nickel into the coin box and the Fritos official mascot, The Frito Kid, would come to life, lick his lips, and call for Klondike the Miner to send a bag of Fritos down the chute.
The stereophonic audio track changed with each purchase, so each customer would hear a different interaction between the Kid and Klondike.
Photo: Spacemountainmike, used under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Casa de Fritos was located next to the Mine Train Through Nature’s Wonderland attraction (which was replaced in 1979 by the runaway mine train rollercoaster Big Thunder Mountain Railroad).
They were a massively successful…
A year later, the new VP of Frito-Lay, Archibald Clark West, dropped by the restaurant without warning and saw hundreds of customers stuffing their faces with the seasoned chips.
So he had an idea to turn the chips into a brand.
West quickly made a deal with Alex Foods to produce them as a separately branded snack. He later branded them as Doritos” (the name is Spanish for “little pieces of gold”).
When Doritos started to get big, production of the chips was moved to a bigger factory in Tulsa. West test-marketed the chips in southern California. They sold out faster than Alex Foods could produce them.
The whole world fell in love with Doritos. West even loved Doritos to his grave (literally). At his funeral, his daughter threw Doritos into the grave after him (as per his request).
Today Doritos is the top ranked tortilla/tostada chip brand in the world.100 million bags of various types of Doritos are consumed daily.
PS>>>Here’s a throwback to the bizarre time when Doritos launch a foot long chip…