Taco Bell's Mobile App Lets You Get Your Fast-Food Fix Quickly and Sneakily

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Feb. 14 2014 12:55 PM

Taco Bell's Mobile App Lets You Get Your Fast-Food Fix Quickly and Sneakily

tacobell
Taco Bell will add mobile ordering to walk-in and drive-through.

Photo from Wikimedia.

Taco Bell can be a fast food favorite or a secret late-night obsession. Now, whether customers are looking for expanded or more discreet access, the Taco Bell mobile app will help everyone get their fix.

Though it's been in development for 2 ½ years, Tace Bell only recently conducted a beta trial and is now ready to roll the app out this year. Customers will be able to order from the app, customizing their meal however they want, and then pay from inside the app using a credit card or gift card. They can pick it up at the counter or in the drive-thru, with almost no words exchanged.

Advertisement

Restaurant News reports that McDonald’s and Chick-fil-A are also working on mobile apps, and another popular chain for Mexican food, Chipotle, has had its ordering app out since 2009 and is now planning to invest $10 million more in developing mobile services. But with more than 5,600 U.S. locations, Taco Bell is on a much larger scale than Chipotle, which has about 1,200. Mobile ordering has also proliferated in the pizza industry at Papa John’s, Domino’s, and Pizza Hut, which is Taco Bell's sister brand.

As smartphones saturate the U.S. market, mobile audiences have become crucial targets in any marketing campaign, even on the scale of fast food. Jeff Jenkins, Taco Bell's mobile lead, told the Los Angeles Times that, "With the popularity of millennials and smart phones, we saw this [mobile ordering] coming. ... Mobile is going to be the biggest sort of innovator, shake-up in the quick service industry since the drive-thru."

And in fact Taco Bell already has a mobile app, though people couldn't use it for ordering. It contained the restaurant's menu, news, and games. It's not clear what operating systems the app will run on, but iOS and Android seem likely. It's time to put tacos in the hands of the people.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Lily Hay Newman is lead blogger for Future Tense.

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

Why Do Some People See the Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese?

The science that explains the human need to find meaning in coincidences.

Jurisprudence

Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

What to Do if You Literally Get a Bug in Your Ear

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 8:43 PM This 17-Minute Tribute to David Fincher Is the Perfect Preparation for Gone Girl
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 17 2014 7:30 AM Ring Around the Rainbow
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.