Taco Bell is testing a new taco subscription with unlimited tacos for $5, and it shows how the fight over customer loyalty is heating up

Taco Bell taco lover's pass
just introduced a taco subscription. Taco Bell
  • Taco Bell is testing a taco subscription in Arizona for $US5 ($AU7) per month.
  • Subscriptions have been growing in the restaurant industry, pioneered by Panera and Pret.
  • The subscription also requires Taco Bell’s app, which can be a way to keep customers coming back.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Taco Bell is testing a new 30-day taco subscription, the chain announced on Monday.

Any customer who can get their hands on one of the Taco Lover’s Passes, which run for anywhere from $US5 ($AU7) to $US10 ($AU14) depending on location, is eligible for a free taco daily for 30 days.

To cash in on your taco, head to Taco Bell’s app where you can order a Crunchy Taco, Spicy Potato Soft Taco, Crunchy Supreme Taco, Soft Supreme Taco, Doritos Locos Tacos or Doritos Locos Tacos Supreme, according to the press release.

The trial went live on September 9 at 17 participating locations in Tuscon, AZ. It will continue through November 24, Taco Bell said.

Other chains have tested out subscriptions as a way to keep regular customers coming in and spending money in what some experts have dubbed the “subscription economy.” Restaurants are following the success of subscription models from Netflix and Amazon in the subscription sales industry, which is projected to hit $US263 ($AU358) billion by 2025 according to Juniper Research.

Panera launched a daily coffee subscription for $US9 ($AU12) per month in 2020, followed by Pret A Manger’s similar program in the UK, which offered up to five drinks per day for $US26.60 ($AU36) a month. Both companies call the programs a success for bringing in new customers and keeping them coming back.

“We see businesses that are playing in subscriptions are out-competing businesses that are not,” Sean Keith, director of new business development at Eagle Eye, which powers Pret’s subscription, previously told Insider.

For restaurants, subscriptions go hand-in-hand with investment in apps and customer loyalty programs. The Taco Lover’s Pass is available exclusively through Taco Bell’s app, which also has special discounts and promotions on limited-time menu items.

Rewards programs have become nearly essential for fast food chains to attract and keep customers, so these deals are the incentive to get customers using them. Popeyes just launched a program that offers some freebies just for signing up. Starbucks has a popular app with customers so loyal that they sparked a backlash when the chain changed how rewards were calculated. Chipotle’s in-app rewards program has been a huge success, reaching 20 million members within two years of launching.

Rewards programs seem to be more important than ever as they incentivize return visits and give companies valuable customer data, and the Taco Lover’s Pass is just one more way companies can convince customers to download the app.

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