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09/13/2021

Taco Bell tests mobile subscription plan

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Taco Bell is piloting the “Taco Lover’s Pass.”

If you have a smartphone and love eating tacos, Taco Bell is piloting a new loyalty offering just for you.

The quick-service Mexican food retailer, a division of Yum! Brands, is testing a new 30-day subscription program called the Taco Lover’s Pass. Only available via the Taco Bell app at 17 participating Tucson-area stores through Nov. 24, 2021, the Taco Lover’s Pass costs between $5 and $10 depending on the customer’s location.

To purchase a subscription, customers can add the pass from the Online Exclusives section of the Taco Bell app menu to their cart and complete the regular checkout process. After buying the pass, a secret Taco Lover’s Pass category will unlock on the user’s app menu. From there, the customer can choose one taco from those available. Products on the pass menu include Crunchy Taco Supreme, Soft Taco, Soft Taco Supreme, Doritos Locos Tacos, Doritos Locos Tacos Supreme, and Spicy Potato Soft Taco.

Redemptions of Taco Lover’s Pass daily tacos must be made via the Taco Bell mobile app for in-restaurant pickup at a participating location. Taco Bell has not specified whether it intends to pilot the program in other locations or markets, or how long it will take to analyze pilot results once the test period is complete.

Taco Bell is breaking ground as a quick-service retailer offering a monthly subscription for a food item. However, the monthly subscription model has been growing in popularity among retailers selling beverage products. For example, in February 2020, fast-casual food service retailer Panera introduced what it calls the first unlimited monthly coffee subscription plan offered by a national restaurant chain. Customers can receive unlimited hot drip coffee, iced coffee and hot tea for $8.99 per month.

The new coffee subscription, known as “MyPanera+Coffee,” is available to members of the retailer’s free MyPanera loyalty program. The program includes one cup of drip hot coffee, hot tea, or iced coffee every two hours during regular store hours, including free refills of the same beverage at participating U.S. locations.

During spring and early summer 2021, convenience retailer Circle K nationally rolled out a new monthly beverage subscription program, “Sip & Save.” Customers could choose any one of Circle K’s fountain beverages – including iced tea, iced or hot coffee, Polar Pop and Froster – in any size cup, each day for $5.99 a month.

Spring 2021 also saw omnichannel coffee retailer Peet’s Coffee introduced what it calls a Carbon Neutral Series coffee subscription. The Berkeley, Calif.-based coffee chain is partnering with global sustainability nonprofit Enveritas to offer a curated subscription service that sponsors the planting of three carbon dioxide-absorbing mangrove trees in Myanmar's ecoregion of Southeast Asia for every two pounds of coffee delivered—or 36 trees for a year's subscription. 

Meanwhile, Taco Bell has also been bolstering its general mobile customer experience. The company’s "Taco Bell Go Mobile" concept, which debuted in the first quarter of 2021, features two drive-thru lanes, including a new priority pick-up lane with rapid service for customers who have ordered online via the Taco Bell app.