Free Food Offer Crashes Taco Bell’s App, Website


Lots of Taco Bell customers hoping to get their hands on a free Chalupa Craving Box were disappointed when the Mexican and Tex-Mex fast food chain’s app and website crashed Tuesday morning, MassLive reported.

As Taco Bell regulars know, the $5 Cravings Box includes a five-layer beef burrito, a taco, cinnamon twists and a medium drink as well as the titular chalupa.

For months, the California-based restaurant, with more than 7,000 dining rooms in the U.S., has been hosting free tacos on Tuesdays just for showing up, MassLive reported.

But the Cravings Box promotion caused throngs to seek out the app and the website. All customers had to do was download the app, order and pick up the meal at the drive through or print a coupon from their website.

By noon, a surge of traffic brought the company’s platforms to a halt. MassLive reported with the site down, many locations were unable to honor the deal, leaving customers upset.

“We know our fans have a passion for our craveable food, especially craveable food that makes a Tuesday a little more epic,” Taco Bell said in a statement. “This overwhelming excitement and high traffic is causing some technical difficulties. We’re aware of the issue and are working quickly to ensure those fans impacted get the free $5 Cravings Box we promised.”

The deal may have been an enticement to join the California-based company’s new loyalty program that is expected to launch nationwide in July, the online news service reported.

While many see the explosion of food delivery and curbside pickup since the onset of COVID-19 as something new, Tim Ridgely, head of order and delivery at customer engagement platform Paytronix, told PYMNTS that’s not so.

“Delivery was ramping up, curbside was ramping up, all of those things were ramping up,” he said. “It’s just that these things have gone from a bit of a luxury item to something everyone does now. This is now the way the world works.”

In April, CEO Gail Taggart of Chicago-based LYFE Kitchen, a small fast-casual chain specializing in healthy options, said the coronavirus virus pandemic has only made a competitive sector even more difficult. While large chains have the resources to deal with a disruption, independent restaurants are often left scrambling to stay afloat.

“You have a limited amount of capital and resources, [but] you want to stay current, which is hard to do,” Taggart told  PYMNTS.