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Taco Bell Launches Nacho Fry Subscription as Restaurants Tap Memberships

Taco Bell restaurant exterior

Following on the success of its limited-time taco subscriptions, quick-service restaurant (QSR) giant Taco Bell is expanding the model beyond just tacos.

The restaurant chain announced Tuesday (Nov. 14) that it is launching the Nacho Fries Lover’s Pass, an offer exclusively available to Rewards Members, enabling them to order Nacho Fries every day for 30 consecutive days for a set fee of $10.

“We’re committed to pushing the boundaries of convenience and innovation for our biggest fans, our loyalty members. The Nacho Fries Lover’s Pass is just one example of how we’re leveraging digital technology to enhance their experience,” Chief Digital Officer Dane Mathews said in a press release.

The move follows on Taco Bell’s previous subscription, the Taco Lover’s Pass, which similarly offered loyalty members one free taco a day for 30 days for a one-time $10 payment, with the passes available for purchase only for short periods of time. The latest revival of the program came last month, timed with National Taco Day.

In an interview with PYMNTS last year, Sean Tresvant, then chief brand officer at Taco Bell (now global chief brand and strategy officer, soon to be CEO of the chain) explained how the restaurant has seen the subscription offering prompt consumers to engage more actively with its menu.

“Often at Taco Bell, consumers get into their own routine, getting their go-to order,” Tresvant said. “Here, we saw experimentation. The pass allowed flexibility when it came to our taco offerings and introduced not-so-new products to longtime … fans.”

Subscriptions are becoming more common throughout the restaurant industry. In an interview with PYMNTS following Grubhub’s announcement of its loyalty subscription relaunch over the summer, Launika Raykar, the aggregator’s vice president of loyalty, customer engagement and partnerships, spoke to this shift.

“You look at Walmart+Instacart+Grubhub+, obviously. … Within our industry, I feel like it’s fairly standard, but it’s expanded to even QSRs,” Raykar said. “Panera has a subscription program. Now Tim Hortons does. So, I actually think it’s become more synonymous with loyalty and become an expectation of customers.”

With its subscription, fast-casual brand Panera Bread charges a flat monthly rate for free beverages, a program it expanded last year to include more kinds of drinks and updated earlier this year to include an annual option with free delivery.

“Today, one in four Panera transactions come from Unlimited Sip Club members — the program is helping to drive transaction growth despite a highly inflationary environment, and to bring in new guests to experience everything Panera has to offer,” Eduardo Luz, then chief brand and concept officer of Panera Bread, said in a statement in February.

Plus, earlier this year, Sweetgreen brought back its Sweetpass+ subscription on a more permanent basis, initially tested in early 2022, whereby consumers pay $10 a month for up to one $3 discount a day off an order, this time adding a few extra perks.

The PYMNTS Intelligence study “Digital Divide: Restaurant Subscribers And Loyalty Programs,” which draws from a survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults, finds that restaurant subscribers are significantly more loyal than non-subscribers. The report noted that 78% of subscribers and 73% of those interested in subscriptions are very or extremely loyal toward their preferred quick-service restaurants (QSRs), while just 41% of those uninterested in subscriptions said the same.