Maverick behind ‘Doritos Locos Tacos’ to join TGI Fridays

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The woman behind the success of Taco Bell’s Doritos shell is taking her mastery in mind-blowing flavour combinations to the TGI Fridays restaurant chain.

Stephanie Perdue, Taco Bell’s former chief product marketing officer, had led the team that designed Doritos Locos Tacos, which helped refresh the brand as a late-night must for teenagers and adults alike.

Since 2014, Taco Bell has sold more than 1bn of these tacos, whose shells are made from Doritos chips dusted with the iconic nacho cheese favor. Now TGIF will be hoping to steal some of the magic.

“TGI Fridays has a long history of creating firsts in the industry and I look forward to continuing that tradition by breaking the status quo,” Ms Perdue said in a statement. “I am thrilled to help write the next chapter for Fridays as we reimagine the brand for both team members and guests.”

“Casual dining, including Fridays, needs to be more imaginative and differentiated, especially around product innovation,” added TGI Fridays chairman and CEO John Antioco. “Fridays is determined to distinguish itself from the category…”

Sentinel Capital Partners and TriArtisan Capital Partners bought TGI Fridays in 2014 for an estimated $800m, hoping to turn around the group hit by an industry slowdown.

While the broader food and beverage industry has ramped up efforts to appeal to increasingly health-conscious consumers, Ms Perdue’s approach has stood in stark contrast, opting instead for fun and innovative ideas. She also led the introduction of Taco Bell’s breakfast menu, which now competes with McDonald’s.

What’s next for TGI Friday’s then? Let’s hope it’s a Skittles chicken breast or Coke-soaked salad.

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