Taco Bell is launching a new feature to cater to one of its more important demographics: drunk customers.
Starting Thursday, the fast-food chain is launching a test run of a feature that allows Lyft passengers to push a button and have their driver take them to a Taco Bell drive-thru between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m.
The test of “Taco Mode” is launching in Orange County, California from July 27 to 29 and August 3 to 5, with plans to expand the service across the US in 2018. In addition to the chance to order drive-thru Taco Bell as a passenger, Taco Mode also includes a custom in-care menu, free Doritos Locos, and what the company calls a “taco-themed car.”
In other words, Taco Bell just made it a lot easier for drunk customers to get Doritos Locos tacos on the way home from the bar.
“We realised that for every person who has asked their Lyft driver to make a pit-stop at Taco Bell — and we’ve seen many — there are likely those who weren’t sure if this was possible,” Taco Bell CMO Marisa Thalberg said in a statement. “With the advent of this fantastic partnership with Lyft, we will erase any lingering uncertainty and celebrate the ability to ‘ride-thru’ in Taco Mode.”
Drunk late-night customers are a key part of Taco Bell’s business model.
According to Foursquare data, 14.8% of Taco Bell’s customers visited between the hours of 10 p.m. and 4 a.m., reported QSR Magazine. For comparison, the late night crowd makes up 11.1% of McDonald’s and 3.5% of Qdoba’s customers.
The partnership will also provide a reason for customers to pick Lyft over its ride share rival Uber. Uber has had a difficult 2017, with a series of scandals that culminated in the departure of its CEO, Travis Kalanick.
While Uber has a series of fast-food partnerships of its own, through UberEats delivery, “Taco Mode” provides a different kind of delivery service — one that that results in fresher food. In the past, Taco Bell has been reticent to jump on the UberEats bandwagon, due to fears that the food would be delivered cold.
“The third party folks, the aggregators — they’re just not fast enough,” CEO Brian Niccol told Business Insider in April.
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