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App of the Month: Taco Bell

Talk about a targeted message. To generate buzz for the release of its new smartphone app on Oct. 28, Taco Bell went silent on all of its social media channels for one day, replacing its characteristically prolific posts with one disruptive message: “Taco Bell isn’t on Instagram [or Twitter or Facebook], it’s #onlyintheapp.” It was accompanied by a link to download the new app, designed heavily around mobile ordering and payment.

Gone is the more-fun-than-functional Cravinator tool which, when RB tested the previous app in September, was the only thing of note among the “pretty basic” features, “dark colors and small fonts.” The new app uses photos of skateboarding, bungee-jumping, glitter-nailed customers and casual phrases (“Hola, friend” and “Got it”) rendered in bold type to help users navigate the food and drink menu, customize ingredients, submit a mobile order and pay by phone using a reloadable Taco Bell card.

Following the lead of Panera Bread and others, Taco Bell lets those who placed mobile orders skip the line in store or tell the drive-thru worker that they’ve arrived to pick up a mobile order, saving time. Other features:

  • Rotating the phone 90 degrees calls up past orders.
  • Certain menu items, such as its freezes, are offered for less via the app.
  • Nutrition information and a store locator are carry overs from the old app.

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