NEW YORK - Dorito dust may be the new salt for more restaurant chains.
PepsiCo Inc. (PEP), which owns Cheetos,
Fritos, Tostitos and other snacks, found success last year after teaming up
with Taco Bell to create Dorito-flavored taco shells. And it has since been
looking to dream up other restaurant dishes featuring its popular snacks.
The company announced Thursday that it
struck a deal to serve its drinks at Buffalo Wild Wings, picking a significant
client from beverage rival Coca-Cola Co. Notably, however, PepsiCo also said it
would work with the sports-centric chain to create "unique menu
During a trip to PepsiCo's food
innovation lab, Buffalo Wild Wings CEO Sally Smith said in an interview that
she was shown several dishes that might be a hit with the chain's customers.
For example, Doritos as a crunchy topping for wings or tenders, or even just
offering potato chips as a side dish.
Additionally, Smith said she was shown
ideas for salad dressings and sandwich and chicken wing sauces that incorporate
PepsiCo's colas, including Mountain Dew.
"I don't think it will be in the
next 12 months, but we'll possibly start testing after a year or 18
months," she said, noting that considerable research and planning would be
needed to bring the offerings to the company's more than 975 U.S. locations.
More broadly, PepsiCo clearly sees the
idea of incorporating its snacks into menus as a major opportunity. Pizza Hut,
for instance, has also looked at ways to team up with Frito-Lay snacks,
according to a representative. Pizza Hut is owned by Yum Brands, which is also
the parent company of Taco Bell and KFC.
Over at Taco Bell, Doritos Locos Tacos
have been and a considerable sales driver, boosting the fortunes of both
PepsiCo and Yum. Taco Bell CEO Greg Creed has noted that a major advantage of
the Doritos Locos Tacos is that nobody can replicate them -- their success is
largely tied to the popularity the Doritos brand.
The latest partnership with Buffalo
Wild Wings reflects PepsiCo's push to use the strength of its snacks business
to bolster its beverage business, which has long trailed Coca-Cola. That
campaign comes as PepsiCo fights off calls to split its drinks and snacks unit.
PepsiCo has responded to the calls for a split by touting a "Power of
One" marketing campaign that features one of its snacks with one of its
A representative for PepsiCo wasn't
immediately available for comment.