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Former Taco Bell Interns Claim These Photos Prove They Invented The Doritos Locos Taco

Hayley Peterson

FILE - This undated image provided by Taco Bell shows an advertisement for Doritos Locos Tacos shells. Taco Bell has put the spice back in its U.S. sales after a nearly yearlong slump stemming from a short-lived lawsuit that created a stir. The Mexican-style chain saw its revenue at U.S. restaurants open at least a year rise 6 percent in the first quarter. And its parent company, Yum Brands Inc., is predicting more robust sales in the second quarter. Yum Chief Financial Officer Rick Carucci on Thursday, April 19, 2012 predicted sales growth in the high single digits or low double digits. He said the chain is rebounding thanks to a successful launch of its tacos that use shells made out of Nacho Cheese Doritos. The chain suffered a sales slump in the months after a now-dropped lawsuit last year questioned the beef content of its tacos and burrito filling. (AP Photo/Taco Bell)

A group of former Taco Bell interns claim they came up with the $1 billion idea for a Dorito-shell taco nearly 20 years ago, and they have pictures to prove it. 

The group came up with the idea as part of a Taco Bell-sponsored contest during the summer of 1995, former intern Andrea Watt told Huffington Post's Jillian Berman.

Taco Bell released a similar product — the Doritos Locos Taco — in 2012. The item is the most successful product in Taco Bell's history. 

"I’m sure I signed away that anything I pitched to them was their property anyway," Watt told Berman. "I would just like someone to recognize that it was a good idea."

Watt provided Huffington with pictures of the four-member group holding a sign with the Doritos logo on it.

Good ideas can come from anyone. Taco Bell interns in 1995 were first to suggest Doritos Tacos http://t.co/1zqAlTYUnj pic.twitter.com/VN3W8Df6wG

— Laura Fitzpatrick (@BitzOfFitz) April 8, 2014

She also provided photos of promotional materials that the group created for the product, which they called "Doritos Tacos," as well as a letter from a Taco Bell executive offering feedback on the idea.

The world just wasn't ready for Doritos Tacos in 1995 http://t.co/od7avHj6Gu pic.twitter.com/koTuFZNnCX

— Morgan Little (@mlittledc) April 8, 2014

Watt said her group lost the Taco Bell contest and was told that the idea wasn't marketable.

In an emailed statement to Business Insider, Taco Bell said its Doritos Locos Tacos were "created, developed — and successfully brought to market — by a hard-working collaborative team at Frito-Lay and Taco Bell."

"Good ideas can come from anywhere, but an idea without execution does not make a successful product," Rob Poetsch, Taco Bell's director of public affairs and engagement, said.  "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."

A federal inmate sued Taco Bell last year, claiming the company stole his idea, and an Arkansas dad also tried to take credit after he launched a 2009 Facebook campaign for a Doritos Taco.



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