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.

Taco Bell app

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


In California, jobs are up, but traffic is down

The Bottom Line: Limited-service restaurants have not cut jobs in California, despite the $20 fast-food wage. But that doesn't mean it hasn't had an impact.


First-party catering emerges as a new frontier for restaurant tech

Tech Check: As catering booms, more tech companies are offering restaurants the tools to do it themselves.


Applebee's upgrades chicken sandwiches with new techniques and flavors

Behind the Menu: VP of Culinary Shannon Johnson introduced hand breading, a larger chicken breast and craveable flavor profiles to elevate the platform.


More from our partners