Taco Bell has launched a mobile ordering app to make fast food, even faster. Anticipating the launch, Taco Bell went dark across all social media channels to create hype for the new ordering service. The tactic was intended to entice the brand’s online following over to the new platform.
The app was developed by digital marketing agency, Digitas, and it works on both Android and iOS phones. Taco Bell fanatics can link a credit, debit or gift card enabling payments to be made seamlessly. Once the payment method is connected, users select items they’re in the mood for and can place an order from any location. One of the best perks? Customers can pick up the order at their convenience.
When hungry mobile consumers decide to head over to their local Taco Bell to pick up their order and come within 500 feet of the store, the app utilizes GPS technology to send out a notification asking users to “check in” and pick up their order. Users that opt out of location-based tracking can manually notify the store while on premises to get their order. Either way, the check-in triggers the order to be be placed in a queue and prepared to ensure no one gets any soggy tacos!
“There are literally billions of combinations of Taco Bell ingredients that you can put into this thing,” said Taco Bell CMO Chris Brandt. “But it isn’t just a nice little marketing exercise. We think it has a great business application too.” Taco Bell will benefit in multiple ways – first and foremost from the data collected via the mobile app itself. However, empowering the consumer to create unique orders is a win-win. If a creative app user develops a popular item that catches on, Taco Bell could possibly add it to the menu.
Another important goal for the app is to encourage customers to explore the versatility of the menu and post unique combinations, referred to by some as “franken tacos”, to social media channels such as Instagram or Twitter. Purchase history shows that 60% to 70% of Taco Bell customers find their niche and order the same item(s) on every visit.
Taco Bell believes mobile ordering is the future of the fast food industry. “It gives customers control,” says Brandt. “They don’t want to talk to people all the time.” Taco Bell designed the app with millennials and younger generations in mind, following suit with other businesses. “Like everything we do in digital and social, we wanted it to look like something your friend would post,” said Jeff Jenkins, Taco Bell’s Director of Digital Experience.
Taco Bell likely sees this app as a way to cement its position among a tremendous and growing market. Confirmation of this potential comes via a study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, which stated, “Millennial annual purchasing power widely range between $125 billion and $890 billion. A more consistent estimate is $200 billion of direct purchasing power and $500 billion of indirect spending, largely due to the influence on the spending of their mostly baby boomer parents. With Millennials’ peak buying power still decades away, marketers would do well to establish relationships with this consumer force.”
Taco Bell’s launch of its mobile ordering app may signal a rapidly growing trend in quick serve restaurant markets. As these apps become more widely adopted, we are bound to see the the mobile channel become the principal way QSR brands communicate with customers in the Millennial and Generation Z groups.