Taco Bell crunches its subscription numbers and likes the result

Photo courtesy of Taco Bell

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Welcome to RB’s weekly roundup of the latest developments in restaurant marketing.

Remember the Taco Lovers Pass?

Taco Belllaunched the subscription early last month, offering one taco a day (from a list of seven varieties) for 30 days for $10, exclusively through the brand’s app.

It turns out the promotion was a big hit for the fast food chain.

Pass buyers visited Taco Bell three times more often during the month than non-subscribers, and nearly half of those transactions included more than a single “free” taco, the chain revealed this week.

One-third of the total number of Taco Lover’s Pass registrations and redemptions came from the West Coast, the company said.

The pass also proved to be a strong funnel for rewards members, and 16% of original subscribers chose to renew their taco passes, Taco Bell said. During the test phase in Tucson, Arizona, approximately 20% of subscribers renewed their passes.

“Subscriptions are here to stay, and Taco Bell is excited to take these learnings as a way to continue to engage with fans in new and unique ways,” a spokeswoman said in a statement.

panera breadwhich launched its “unlimited sip club” beverage subscription just before the pandemic hit, also reported impressive engagement, attachment to food and customer acquisition with the program.

We expect to see many more subscription-type programs in restaurant chains, and even independents, in the not too distant future.

Loyalty programs 2.0

It must be the season to revamp and reinvent restaurant rewards programs. We’ve heard several channels over the past few days that do just that.

Among them is a fast and casual poke chain Pokeworkswhich launched a new app and enhanced its online ordering capabilities, in addition to upgrading its loyalty program.

As part of the new rewards platform, Pokeworks customers can earn rewards and bonuses, as well as redeem custom offer codes. Long-term offers include $1.99 shipping, $9 off per $99 spent, and $5 off for rewards referrals. There will also be “timely rotating offers”, the channel said.

Casual Mexican chain Qdoba also revamped its loyalty program this month, allowing customers to earn free food faster.

Diners will earn one point for every $1 spent, with one free entry available after spending $125.

The two-tier loyalty program allows customers to earn “chef” status with 12 Qdoba visits per year. Chef Status rewards members earn extra perks like $2 Queso & Chips with every visit, plus seasonal surprises.

The 740-unit chain said simplifying its rewards program was a consumer request.

Qdoba said it has seen a 20% increase in weekly signups for the rewards program since its launch.

On 22.02.22 continues…

On Tuesday, we saw many channels take advantage of the historic date of 2/22/22 with special offers and promotions. (The date was also almost so perfectly aligned with Taco Tuesday and National Margarita Day that it looked like someone planned it…)

red lobsterhowever, decided to air their date-specific promo through Monday.

The casual dining chain’s Red Lobster Rewards contest coincides with the two-year anniversary of the launch of the “enhanced benefits” of its My Red Lobster Rewards loyalty program.

App users receive automatic entry into the contest and can earn additional entries for each restaurant or takeout visit through Monday.

One winner will take home $22,222 and 222 reward members will receive 222 bonus points. All loyalty members will be incentivized with two free soft drinks through Monday.

This is yet another way of trying to get more people to sign up for a rewards program, while giving existing members a reason to stick around.

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