Did Doritos Locos Tacos Create 15,000 Jobs?

A blog about business and economics.
April 22 2013 12:44 PM

Taco Bell Says Doritos Locos Tacos Have Created 15,000 Jobs

143134296
A Taco Bell and Pizza Hut in Los Angeles

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Taco Bell's Doritos Locos tacos have been a big hit product, but assertions that they're responsible for the creation of 15,000 new jobs are a textbook illustration of the difficulty in making macro-inferences from micro-phenemona:

Creed explained how one taco, the Doritos Locos Taco, helped create 15,000 jobs for the Yum! Brands subsidiary. Taco Bell says it has 150,000 team members in its restaurants nationwide.
“It’s very possible because two things happened. One is we grew the business,” he said, adding that Taco Bell’s sales grew by 8 percent last year.
Second, it helps if you add two or three employees to each of Taco Bell’s 6,000 locations.
“And that’s great, it makes us feel really good,” he said. “It’s great we sold lots of tacos and it’s great for our shareholders, but if you can get 15,000 people off the unemployment line and give them jobs -- that to me is giving back to society. That is having a social conscience in doing the right thing. That’s really important to me.“
Advertisement

The observation here is that Doritos Locos tacos helped lead to surging Taco Bell sales, then Taco Bell added a lot of staff to meet that rising demand. And good for Taco Bell. But presumably some large fraction of those sales either displaced sales at other fast food establishments or else displaced nonfood purchases. People might be cutting expenditures on cable television or movie tickets in favor of Netflix and plowing some of their savings into buying more meals outside the house. The impact of any particular firm's successes on overall levels of employment and output is totally ambiguous.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

The World’s Politest Protesters

The Occupy Central demonstrators are courteous. That’s actually what makes them so dangerous.

The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:58 PM The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

How Did the Royals Win Despite Bunting So Many Times? Bunting Is a Terrible Strategy.

Catacombs Where You Can Stroll Down Hallways Lined With Corpses

Homeland Is Good Again! For Now.

Crime

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 6:39 PM Spoiler Special: Transparent
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.