What Are Taco Bell’s New Taco Subscription Signals For Loyalty Marketing

The company is rolling out the program nationwide following a trial at 17 restaurants in Tucson, Ariz., Market in September. The results there have been encouraging, officials said, with 20% of pass buyers new to the chain’s rewards program, and an additional 20% renewing their membership along with the offer. The Doritos Locos Taco Supreme was the most purchased offering, the chain said.

Taco Bell’s rewards program uses the app to track purchases, earning points that can be redeemed for discounts on future visits.

Considering the Tucson numbers, “it’s safe to assume that the additional business generated and deeper customer engagement more than offset the added cost to the business,” Whitler concluded.

More data sharing

The surge in online loyalty triggered by the pandemic in the restaurant industry has been accompanied by the boom in door-to-door delivery and curbside pickup. But those deals have come almost exclusively in partnership with third-party tech companies like DoorDash and Grubhub that pull customer data from the chains with every delivery. This has the potential downside that these companies will in turn use this information to launch competing businesses, like DoorDash’s DashMart store, making the offer of customer convenience online a double-edged sword for restaurants.

Programs like the Taco Lover’s Pass can solve this dilemma by driving digital sales that bypass these value chain intruders, said Aaron Goldman, chief marketing officer at Mediaocean, an advertising technology platform.

“Restaurants have been at the mercy of these midsize businesses over the past two years as consumers turn to new ways of getting food,” Goldman said. “This will help Taco Bell get more app downloads without having to get them involved.”

The offering also echoes themes that run through various promotions in the restaurant space that essentially make existing menu items work harder and don’t require the expense or complexity of new item launches and other operational changes. . The packaged celebrity meals that have swept the industry since 2020 are a prime example, including the successful marketing of McDonald’s ‘famous orders’.

Other new membership programs pushing existing items include the On the Border deal which gives Border Rewards members a free queso for one year with a $ 1 membership fee. Panera Bread in 2020 launched a monthly coffee subscription for $ 8.99 allowing its customers to receive free and unlimited coffee and tea; Rival Pret a Manger now offers a tiered program offering unlimited free drinks for an annual fee of $ 29.99, or $ 19.99 for coffee and tea only.

“When you’re a mature brand, it gets harder and harder to drive growth,” said Barbara Yolles, CEO of Ludwig +, a Detroit-area marketing and advertising company. “You only have certain levers, and those become apparent over time. You can create more stores, play with prices, add new time slots or taste profiles, introduce new products or, in the case of Taco Bell, encourage fans of your products and your brand to repeat their visit. The Frequent Taco Lovers Program is great for helping to inspire loyalty and create advocacy among valued customers. “

The discount will also ease shoppers’ apprehension to explore different items, Yolles said.

“The key to success here is cross-selling when the customer walks into the store, otherwise they risk being ‘taco’ by day 30,” Yolles continued. “I imagine they really go for one taco a day for 10 days. This will result in a large profit margin. Ultimately, the app’s data will definitely help uncover this, but ultimately we see this as a great tactic used by Taco Bell.

A well-dressed deep shed?

Denise Lee Yohn, brand leadership expert, author and consultant, sees the Taco Bell subscription program as driving more frequent purchases for consumers and providing data to the brand. Its relative novelty in the fast food arena – for now at least – can also turn into an advantage for the chain, she said.

“Only a few competitors in the restaurant category have done something like this, so it’s something that can stand out as unique enough that consumers participate and will want to share it socially,” said Lee Yohn. “Eventually everyone will do something like this, and the uniqueness will fade away.”

Yolles agreed, saying: “I wouldn’t be surprised if once the numbers on this project come out and they are positive, we see competitors offering a dollar burger a day for 30 days or something similar. . “

Others are less seduced by the uniqueness of the offer. Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Loyalty Researcher Brand Keys, put it bluntly: “This is a digital price promotion. For the tacos.

Passikoff said he expects the chain’s advantage to be that it offers more tacos than its customers will ultimately buy. He raised a particular issue with the press materials accompanying the launch that suggested the program as a solution for Taco Bell fans whose New Years resolutions involved the brand.

“I’m just saying,” he remarked, “in 38 years of New Year’s resolution polls, no one has ever mentioned anything relating to expressing their love for Taco Bell. “

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