Taco Bell is a fast food restaurant chain based in Irvine, California. It is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, and serves Tex-Mex foods including tacos, burritos, nachos, quesadillas, and other specialty items. Taco Bell serves more than 2 billion people per year, and has more than 5,800 locations in the U.S. These are a few of Taco Bell’s ingenious restaurant marketing ideas.
Restaurant Marketing Ideas from Taco Bell
1. Mobile Marketing
In 2009, Taco Bell spiced up its marketing strategy by introducing a mobile component to its “Why Pay More” promotion. The “Why Pay More Shaker” iPhone application calculates the various 79, 89 and 99 cent items on the restaurant’s value menu. The user can enter how much money they have, shake the phone, and then the app will tell them what they can get. The app is meant to show consumers that Taco Bell is dedicated to helping consumers. The app also shows how much change the customer gets back, and has a store locator.
2. National Basketball Association
In 2009, Taco Bell and the National Basketball Association (NBA) announced that Taco Bell had become the official quick service restaurant of the NBA. Through this deal, Taco Bell reached a very broad audience including fans of the NBA, WNBA, and NBA developmental league, through several outlets, such as marquee-league events, television and online exposure, and NBA–themed promotions in its restaurants. Throughout the partnership, Taco Bell conducted national NBA-themed promotions and had a significant presence in NBA national game telecasts on ABC, ESPN and TNT, which helped them to reach huge audiences.
3. Doritos Locos Tacos – Cool Ranch in Theaters Now
Taco Bell used password-only “speakeasy” events in New York, Dallas and Los Angeles and cinema campaigns to pique interest in their Cool Ranch DLT Supreme. A 3D spot was made in partnership with NCM Media Networks, which was the first QSR 3D spot in cinema industry history. The 3D spot was shown on over 8,000 screens nationwide. A 2D version of the campaign also ran across NCM’s full cinema network of more than 19,300 screens. The 3D and 2D cinema spots featured the image of a Doritos chip spinning and exploding, with pieces of chip and seasoning flying out as it morphed into the Cool Ranch DLT Supreme. It was accompanied by the tagline: “If you loved the original, wait until you eat the sequel.”
4. Change Up the Tagline
One of Taco Bell’s most famous marketing ideas was changing their tagline, asking the consumer to “think outside the bun.” It was, of course, a jab aimed at Taco Bell’s major competitors. The message was designed to encourage consumers to do what the slogan suggested and “rethink their eating habits and demand bold, innovative menu items like those found at Taco Bell … not to ‘just settle for another burger or sandwich.'” The campaign was marketed to a younger crowd and highlighted the technology popular with Taco Bell’s core customers, young men. In commercials, they talked about a quesadilla being the newest “handheld” and even had a tie in with Microsoft’s Xbox. Taco Bell reported an 8% hike in same store sales in the first quarter after the new tagline had run.
5. Authenticity – Live Más
Live Más, translated as “live more,” is part of a new authenticity-based marketing idea for Taco Bell. The chain was moving from being a “food as fuel” restaurant to a “food experience” restaurant. The new slogan encourages people to take risks, try something new and authentic. Along with the new tagline comes new menu items as well. Included in these are the Doritos Locos Tacos, a breakfast menu, and the Lorena Garcia authenticity-based cantina menu.