These days it seems like there is a subscription service for everything. I rarely buy beauty items or wine in the store anymore because I’m so used to my monthly/quarterly shipments. In a potentially game-changing move for the fast-food industry, Taco Bell announced that they were going to begin testing a subscription service in pilot stores in Arizona. Depending on the location, the taco subscription plan will cost between $5 and $10 a month and allow purchasers to order one taco every day (other menu items are still full price).
Besides the obvious issues with this model (who only eats one taco when they go to Taco Bell?!), I have to wonder – is Taco Bell taking technology too far? Is the brand too focused on the “digital” part of “digital transformation”? To me, it kind of seems like they are joining the trend and developing this subscription plan just to show that they have one.
It’s a no-brainer why fast-food chains have mobile apps – the data they collect through these apps on what their most loyal customers are looking for out of the brand is extremely valuable. However, is adding on this subscription plan really going to tell Taco Bell anything new about their customers? If anything, limiting the customer’s options to one taco a day seems like it would skew their information gathered – subscription users would seemingly be pressured into buying that taco instead of whatever else they might want on the menu.
On the other hand, other competitors like Panera have started entering the subscription economy space on their apps (for coffee). Could Taco Bell be the brand to make purchasing fast food through a subscription mainstream? If so, this technology would actually transform the way we buy food.
There is also something to be said about how subscriptions limit consumers’ search for information/products (in this case – what they want for dinner). I never have to think about the makeup brands I buy because I use a subscription service. Subscribers to the Taco Bell subscription would never have to think about which fast food restaurant they want to go to because they already paid for their taco.
I suppose only time will tell if Taco Bell’s test in Arizona is successful! I personally will not be signing up until their Crunch Wraps are available with the subscription!