Increasingly, major restaurant brands are leveraging subscription commerce to draw in digital consumers and build loyalty. On Thursday (Jan. 6), leading Mexican-inspired quick service restaurant (QSR) chain Taco Bell announced that, after piloting the program in September in Tucson, Arizona, the brand is launching its “Taco Lover’s Pass” daily taco subscription nationwide.
“There’s no better way to kick off 2022 … than by inviting our fans to enjoy our most iconic tacos every day for 30 days, all while underscoring our commitment to digital innovation and value,” Zipporah Allen, chief digital officer at Taco Bell, said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to offer our most ordered menu item through the Taco Lover’s Pass. It’s a fun way to continue offering unique ways to reward our most loyal fans through our digital access points.”
With the program, for $10, consumers can receive one of seven different kinds of tacos each day for 30 days. Exclusively available through the app, the program encourages fans to engage digitally with the brand.
Previously, in an interview with PYMNTS, Allen stated that the chain was “thrilled with the positive reception” with which the Arizona pilot of the program was met, adding that top of mind for today’s digital consumers are “convenience and reliability.”
The news comes as more restaurant brands are making forays into the subscription space. Panera Bread continues to invest in promotions to drive adoption of its coffee subscription, while on Monday (Jan. 3), sweetgreen announced a pilot of its daily credit “sweetpass” subscription program.
Meanwhile, other brands have had a more difficult time making the model work. United Kingdom-based sandwich and coffee chain Pret a Manger has been drawing criticism after failing to provide members of its coffee subscription program with menu items supposedly covered by the program. Additionally, Olive Garden executives revealed in late December that the chain may not be bringing back its Never Ending Pasta Pass subscription program, which ran for limited periods of time in 2018 and 2019.
What Insiders Are Saying
“There isn’t a company that we talk to today that isn’t thinking about in some way offering a recurring model for products that traditionally had not been purchased that way,” Trace Galloway, chief strategy officer at Vindicia, told PYMNTS in an interview. “A good loyalty or membership or club concept will build brand affinity and loyalty in a way that, long term, will serve those businesses very well.”
Still, it remains to be seen whether enough consumers are interested in having Taco Bell tacos often enough to make the subscription worth it, and whether the seven tacos that the subscription offers provide enough variety to keep people coming back.
“Consumers at the end of the day vote with their feet, and they will stay or they’ll leave on the basis of what they perceive to be the value,” Brian Bogosian, president and CEO of sticky.io, told PYMNTS. “I think the [subscription merchants] that they stick with are the ones that do provide the value, flexibility and tie into what they’re really looking for.”