Monday, September 20, 2021

Taco Bell’s Insincere Subscription Service


There are times that old industry insiders pontificate on things that they just don’t understand.  This may not be the case this time for our own Grocerant Guru®, Steven Johnson, based in Tacoma, WA with Foodservice Solutions®. 

Johnson stated, “consumers are attracted to restaurant brands for a plethora of reasons most are tired to the price, value, service, equilibrium. While technology is driving new loyalty at chain restaurants seeming daily, all just slightly different Johnson believes that most are to contrived.  He reminds us that the consumer is not stupid.  They will set limits on how they far the are willing to be manipulated.

That’s right, food marketers, consumer know you are trying to manipulate them, you are not out smarting them.  They will let you abuse them only up to a point, then they will turn away.  Most new digital app loyalty programs are not a brand invitation they are bribe to stay with the brand.  That according to Johnson is not a brand growth strategy it is a documented, set of data points that quantify how long you can keep a customer before you turn them away.

The price, value, service, equilibrium combined with full flavored craveable food with consistence service will do far more to drive top line sales and bottom-line profits than data points on yesterday’s actions according to Johnson.  For that reason, Johnson believes that Taco Bell’s trial subscription service is simply an insincere effort at a brand invitation in need of a major redo.  That said let’s look at it:

So, the Taco Lover’s Pass, currently launching only at units in Tucson, Ariz., is available via the chain’s app and allows the user to redeem one taco per day for 30 days.

Taco Bell is testing a 30-day taco subscription service that can only be purchased via the chain’s app, the quick-service brand announced Monday.

The Taco Lover’s Pass, which sells for between $5 and $10 depending on location, allows users to redeem one Taco Bell original taco per day for a month. It is currently being tested for a limited time at 17 units in Tucson, Ariz., the company said.

Free taco choices include the Crunchy Taco, Spicy Potato Soft Taco, Crunchy Supreme Taco, Soft Supreme Taco, Doritos Locos Tacos and the Doritos Locos Tacos Supreme. The pass is available under the Online Exclusives section of the Taco Bell app.

The Irvine, Calif.-based chain called the subscription “a digitally exclusive offering that gives fans the chance to satisfy their taco cravings every day for 30 days.”

Even at $10 for the month, the subscription is quite a good deal for diners: One Crunchy Taco Supreme, for example, is listed at $1.99 and a Crunchy Taco is $1.49 on the website of one of Taco Bell’s Tucson, Ariz., stores.

In addition to incentivizing use of the taco chain’s app, it is likely Taco Bell is hoping diners will order more than just their one free taco each day. Such has been the case with other restaurant chains that have recently implemented subscription programs.

Don’t over reach. Are you ready for some fresh ideations? Do your food marketing ideations look more like yesterday than tomorrow? Interested in learning how Foodservice Solutions® can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization?  Email us at: or visit us on our social media sites by clicking the following links: Facebook,  LinkedIn, or Twitter

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