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Taco Bell Releases App for Ordering and Pick-Up; It’s Pretty Cool

“Live Mas,” the icon reads, as if to say, Get out there! Try something new! Order a quesarito from your phone!

taco-bell-app-screenThat last bit is really what Taco Bell would like you to do with its new app, which just released today. When downloaded to your iOS or Android device, it enables you to order and pay for your Taco Bell meal while sitting on your couch. Then, when you feel like it, you can go pick it up in-store or at the drive-through.

It sounds a bit silly, doesn’t it? Ordering fast food ahead of time? I’ll admit that I was a bit skeptical, too. Without having used the app, I didn’t quite see the utility for customers.

But after ordering and picking up, I’m pretty sure other fast food joints are going to mimic this app and this idea. Why? Because it benefits both sides.

As a customer, Taco Bell’s menu can be a little overwhelming. Yeah, this isn’t super authentic Mexican cuisine here, but Taco Bell offers a LOT of different items. And I have to say that being able to peruse the menu without impatient people behind me in line felt freeing. I was able to put together an order and swap items in and out without even the tiniest bit of guilt. Because, let’s be honest, we all can’t stand that guy/gal who takes ten minutes and changes his or her order five times.

After I placed my order at home, I drove immediately to my nearby Taco Bell.

There are some kinks to work out. One major kink is that, for all Taco Bell’s promotion surrounding the app, not one person in my town used it before I rolled up at 5:39 PM. The other kink? The process isn’t all that clear after you order.

I told the woman inside the drive-through speaker that I was picking up, and a solid minute passed before I got a reply.

“Wait, did you say you’re picking up?”

“Yes.”

“Are you Shawn?”

“Yes.”

Another thirty seconds of silence.

“Soooo… Should I pull up now?”

“Yes.”

Once I arrived at the window, I was informed by the employee that I was the first person to use the pick-up option at that store. I was also informed that there was no prize for this achievement. Booooooooo. To Taco Bell’s credit, though, the employees seemed to know how to use the system, which is rarely ever the case when a store rolls out some new type of high-tech wizardry.

The food wasn’t ready right away, nor will it ever be handed to you instantly. Taco Bell doesn’t fool with pick-up times, simply opting to put your order together when you arrive. But that’s no big deal — Taco Bell is fast as it is. And on top of being able to order ahead without being rushed, the restaurant promises some loyalty perks for those who use the app.

Taco Bell wins too, here; it gets some identifying information on its customers when they sign up to use the app, and it also speeds up the ordering process for everyone. I suppose that last part will depend on a substantial number of people using the app, but this is only day one; Taco Bell still has time to get more customers on board.

If you try out the app yourself, definitely leave a comment below or tweet me (@shawn) to let me know what you think. I’m not a daily (or even weekly) Taco Bell diner by any stretch, but this app definitely removes a little friction from the ordering process and, dare I say, makes it a little fun.

Now how about that Subway app?


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— Shawn Farner

Shawn Farner is a Harrisburg-based tech blogger who has been involved in online media for over eight years. He covers consumer electronics, Web companies, and gaming.


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