Pointing out that Taco Bell’s last big advancement was the drive-thru back in the 1980s, company president Brian Niccol introduced the fast-food chain’s mobile ordering app in a Ustream broadcast this morning.
“We listened to our teams, we listened to our consumers, and we listened to the trends that impact the way we do business,” Niccol said from Taco Bell’s Restaurant Support Center in Irvine, California. “When it comes to retail experiences, technology has fundamentally changed the way people interact with brands.”
Given the third highest score in social business intelligence company Simplify360’s April study about the top fast-food chains on social media, Taco Bell is exceptionally active on social media, with 630,000 followers between Vine and Instagram, and more than 10 million Facebook likes. To promote the new app, the PepsiCo-owned chain blacked out all of its accounts, going as far as deleting all tweets and YouTube videos, with the message, “Taco Bell isn’t on (platform), it’s #OnlyInTheApp.”
“I think it’s terrific what Taco Bell is doing around marketing the app,” says Joe Laszlo, senior director of the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence. “I think it’s such an important thing and so many brands launch apps but don’t necessarily put a lot of thought into how to get them out there.”
The app was beta-launched in February, testing it at five stores in Southern California prior to its nationwide release. Offering a fully customizable menu, the app allows customers to pre-order their food. Frequent users can also flip their phones to the right, reordering their last meal.
Some menu items – such as dollar Freezes, frozen drinks that come in Mountain Dew, Dr Pepper, and pink Starburst flavors – will only be available on the app, which will launch more exclusive items in the future. In Laszlo’s opinion, that’s a smart move because it creates an incentive to not only download the app, but to use it.
“Suddenly there’s a reason to check in on the app every so often to see if there are new burritos or tacos you can’t get any other way,” he adds.
Tressie Lieberman, the brand’s director of digital and social marketing, says, “Our fans who love Taco Bell enough to have the app on their phone screen, we want to give them social currency and value, and one of those key ways is to let them know about products first.”
The app is free in both iOS and Android App Stores.
Update: Since its launch Tuesday, “Live Mas” downloads have skyrocketed. The app is currently ranked No. 14 in the iOS App Store.
Homepage image via Shutterstock.
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