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January 31, 2022 | Authored by: Jesus Luzardo

Fast food subscriptions are on the menu

A subscription to Netflix or The New York Times is one thing.

A subscription to tacos? That’s quite another.

There has been a recent uptick in fast food subscriptions as popular brands fight for consumer share in a highly competitive market. Taco Bell is taking the subscription concept to another level, with the launch of a plan that offers customers a taco a day at a price of $10 a month.

Gamble or genius? Stay tuned.

How to beat the competition

For brands that operate as part of a chain, such as hotels and fast food outlets, a subscription plan is a smart way to build engagement, loyalty and ensure ongoing revenue. For a monthly or annual fee, the chain can provide the subscriber with seamless access to all their branches, helping to position the brand as part of the customer’s daily experience.

Imagine a subscriber travels to a different suburb or even city and passes by a branch of their favorite fast food brand. With a subscription plan, there is a certain comfort and convenience built in – instead of popping in to an unknown restaurant for a one-time purchase that they may or may not enjoy, it is so much easier to use their subscription and enjoy the familiarity of the known. They don’t have to look for it; like Netflix or Spotify, it is always there, ready for their custom. This is an ideal way for fast food or restaurant chains to provide frictionless, effortless customer experiences that cultivate long-term loyalty.

Plus, once the customer is already inside the store, utilizing their subscription, it is far easier to work on the upsell. If they order a coffee, offer a pastry. Picking up a taco? Add a side dish or soft drink. That’s how to use subscriptions to beat the competition.

Delivery service: The Netflix of food

A key aspect of a successful fast food subscription is the user’s perception of value. For people who regularly consume takeaway food, taking out a subscription may provide an opportunity to access their preferred chain and enjoy their habit with added value.

The same can be said of another element of fast food subscriptions: takeaway deliveries. Only in this case, the subscription applies not to the food, but to the service.

For example, food delivery apps such as Seamless Plus or Doordash provide value-added subscription plans with perks and benefits, such as free delivery on orders over a certain amount, or a free meal every month. This connects the subscriber to the service via a premium or ‘exclusive’ VIP-type tactic; it offers another level of experience that is not just satisfying in terms of value, but also seamless and frictionless. The customer is literally feeding their needs via the subscription, and for the delivery company? Customer loyalty and retention become stronger and an ongoing revenue stream is assured. It’s the Netflix of food, and it’s already here.

A tool to keep customers connected

During a pilot test of its monthly subscription in Tucson, Arizona, Taco Bell discovered that 20% of subscribers were in fact new customers who had never taken part in its loyalty program before. This just goes to show, subscriptions are an excellent way to acquire customers and keep them continually connected to the brand.

In fact, if you thought subscriptions were suitable just for online platforms or digital services, the rise in fast food subscriptions is a perfect example of how subscriptions are a tool that can be used across all sectors, even food and restaurants, to build strong relationships with customers based on seamless, continuous brand experiences. Subscriptions are the bridge between the physical consumption of fast food, and the digital experience of brand consumption. For fast food companies, digital subscriptions and apps also ensure a steady flow of user data that can help build stronger customer connections. And with the help of subscription intelligence and a next-gen subscription tech platform, the new era of fast food subscriptions is easier to implement than ever.

Bon appetit!

About Author

Jesus Luzardo

Jesus Luzardo

Jesus Luzardo is Vice President, Global Head of Partnerships & International Sales at Vindicia. As an international technology industry veteran, Jesus brings over 30 years of experience in commercial, marketing, strategy, operations and technology roles. Prior to Vindicia, Jesus was Head of Marketing for Amdocs in the Caribbean and Latin America region, driving marketing to significantly expand Amdocs’ sales pipeline. Before Amdocs, he was Head of Sales for Utiba (acquired by Amdocs in 2014), focusing on mobile financial services. His experience includes two years as Head of Corporate/B2B and CCO at Cable & Wireless, and 15 years with Motorola. He lives by Vince Lombardi’s motto: “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” Jesus holds an MBA from Universidad del Zulia (Venezuela), a B.S. in Electronic Engineering from Universidad Rafael Urdaneta (Venezuela), and Advanced Management certifications from Kellogg Institute of Management and IESE (Universidad de Navarra, Spain).