Taco Bell Tests New 'Taco Lover's Pass' Subscription Service

    The program is being piloted at more than a dozen Arizona locations. 

    Fast Food | September 13, 2021 | Ben Coley
    Taco Lover's Pass.
    Taco Bell
    Prices vary from $5 to $10 depending on the customer's location.

    To further engage core customers, Taco Bell is testing a subscription-based Taco Lover's Pass that gives users access to one taco each day for 30 days. 

    The offer—which extends until November 24—is available exclusively through the Taco Bell app at more than a dozen stores throughout Arizona. Prices vary from $5 to $10 depending on the customer's location. With the Taco Lover's Pass, customers can choose from seven options, including Crunchy Taco, Crunchy Taco Supreme, Soft Taco, Soft Taco Supreme, Doritos Locos Tacos, Doritos Locos Tacos Supreme, and Spicy Potato Soft Taco. 

    Gaining much traction as of late, the subscription model has been used to provide differentiating value and to build a strong base of digital customers. Sean Keith, director of new business development at SaaS technology company Eagle Eye, wrote last year that subscription programs are a new way for restaurants to provide a revenue stream that is independent of on-premise sales, incentivize customers to patronize different dayparts and return to locations in urban areas, universally boost customer perception of value, and leverage engagement for better promotions, marketing, and loyalty. 

    "By having the infrastructure in place to create digital connections, quick-service brands can understand their customers better and create offers and incentives that deliver that value and keep subscriptions active," Kennedy said. "That one-to-one relationship, if managed properly, can shore up revenues through the recovery and well into the new normal."

    The most notable subscription program is MyPanera+ Coffee, which rolled out in February 2020. The plan offers unlimited iced and hot coffee and hot tea for $8.99 per month—any size, any flavor, and redeemable every two hours. During the initial February launch, Panera picked up 100,000 signups. After the #FREECOFFEE4SUMMER campaign later that summer, 700,000 people were onboarded in three weeks. Panera told QSR in July 2020 that 75 percent of orders occurred off-premises and that it saw a 25 percent increase in new MyPanera members asking for the deal. 

    A handful of brands in the better-for-you segment have utilized subscriptions, as well. For example, early in 2021 Coolgreens launched a weekly service that allows customers in Florida to order four salads or wraps for delivery or shipping anywhere within the state for $40 per week. Around the same time, Clean Juice launched a juice cleanse club that includes multiple cleanse programs as well as exclusive educational content, promotions, discounts, and access to their online cleanse community. In June, Urban Plates rolled out a membership program, called Plate Pass, that lowers every menu item to $10 or less for $10 per month. During a pilot run, the company found members saved $42 per month. 

    In terms of subscriptions being tried in the fast-food sector, Burger King in 2019 attempted a monthly coffee service for $5 per month.