Taco Bell App Users Up 100,000 Since Subscription Launch

Fast-casual restaurants flourished during the pandemic partly because of loyalty programs.

March 09, 2022

Taco Bell Crunchy Taco

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The top 10 quick-serve restaurant apps in the U.S. were up 13% in February, when adjusted for seasonality and year-over-year data, reports QSR Magazine.

Among the top 10 apps was Taco Bell, coming in at No. 4. Taco Bell is averaging about 100,000 more daily active app users than it had been before its digital subscription launch. Taco Bell’s digital taco subscription Taco Lover’s Pass is available only on the Taco Bell app, users can redeem one of seven tacos a day for 30 consecutive days at participating U.S. locations for $10.

“It’s a good deal for the chain because it incentivizes coming to the restaurant every day where people will typically buy more food than the single taco, writes QSR. “And if they miss a day, that works for the company’s bottom line as well.”

A Paytronix report found that deals, discounts and loyalty programs attract high-spending, high-frequency customers more than other spending groups, and these buyers account for one-quarter of restaurant patrons and an outsized share of food aggregator users.

Fast-casual restaurants flourished during the pandemic partly because of loyalty programs, which allow QSRs the ability to leverage customers’ data. Panera Bread is famous in the fast-casual channel for its loyalty program, which is subscription based and focused on unlimited coffee and hot tea for $8.99 a month plus exclusive rewards for subscribers, but many subscribers don’t leave the restaurant with just a cup of coffee because Panera is focused on the cross-sell and the upsell. It’s also a simple and transparent loyalty model.

Chipotle is another loyalty champion. Before COVID-19, Chipotle had fewer than 10 million rewards members, and by December 2021, there were 24.5 million.

NACS Magazine dove into loyalty programs and how they can provide convenience retailers with critical consumer insights and a competitive edge in “Just Rewards.”

Meanwhile, app-based platforms, including DoorDash, Gopuff, Grubhub, HopSkipDrive, Instacart, Lyft, Shipt and Uber, have joined together to form Flex, a new industry association that will serve as the voice of the app-based economy, according to a news release.

The association will advocate for commonsense solutions on a range of issues affecting workers, consumers, businesses, and other stakeholders who comprise the app-based economy.

"The flexibility of the app-based economy has completely transformed how people work, buy goods and services, and run their businesses," said Kristin Sharp, CEO of Flex. "Flex gives them a voice at the policy-making table so they can continue to help drive the American economy forward. Our first campaign highlights the flexibility of app-based work and explains why it is so important to workers."