Pack your bags for the Taco Bell retirement community

Marketing Bites: The quick-service chain is opening The Cantinas for just one weekend next month, promising a “leisure lifestyle” for all ages. Plus, French Fry Day is near.
Taco Bell Cantinas
Taco Bell is opening an early-retirement community, for one weekend only. | Photo courtesy: Taco Bell.

Marketing Bites

Apparently, aging is trendy now.

Just a couple of months ago, McDonald’s came out with a Grandma McFlurry. And now Taco Bell is promoting an early-retirement community for the “old at heart.”

The taco chain will unveil The Cantinas in San Diego next month, offering up a weekend getaway for superfans of all ages who appreciate a “leisure lifestyle.” The Cantinas will feature retiree-friendly recreation such as aerobics and pickleball, as well as Taco Bell menu favorites (of course), with some surprises.

Arts and crafts will be available, and naps are highly encouraged.

“There’s a common misperception that retirement unlocks the life you’ve been waiting for,” Taco Bell CMO Taylor Montgomery said in a statement. “And while that may be true for some, we don’t think you should have to wait until 55 to live the life you’re craving. The Cantinas early retirement community, just like our brand, represents a place where all generations can come together, regardless of age, to Live their Más however they want.”

As with most restaurant marketing initiatives these days, The Cantinas experience is only open to Taco Bell Rewards members.

Starting at noon ET on Tuesday, those interested in living la vida retired can purchase a weekend membership to The Cantinas for $150 (including accommodations for the ticket holder plus a guest and full access to amenities, recreation, dining and entertainment) or a day pass for the ticket holder plus a guest for $50.

The Cantinas will only be open August 17-18.

I’m assuming rooms at The Cantinas will sell out faster than an all-you-can-eat pasta pass from Olive Garden. But, if Taco Bell is looking to offer up a spot to a middle-aged journalist who has been embracing her inner grandma since she was eight, you have my contact info.

French Fry Day is nigh

You can almost smell the fryer oil.

If you are reading this, it is likely you already know that this Friday is national French Fry Day.

My inbox certainly has been made aware of the momentous occasion.

Here are just a few of the restaurant promos for the big day. (Though, I will say, of all the made-up holidays, I never quite understood this one. Who requires an incentive or a reminder to eat fries?)

Through Friday, diners at Checkers or Rally’s will have the chance to win one of 100 Fully Loaded Fry Passes, which entitles the owner to free fries each week for a year. Friday through Sunday, users of the chains’ app can score free regular-sized Fully Loaded Fries with any purchase.

Wayback Burgers, which claims to be in the final phase of testing a ketchup-infused French fry to debut next year, will offer free regular-sized fries on Friday with the purchase of any burger or sandwich through the loyalty program.

Crinkle Cuddler

Shake Shack's Crinkle Cut Cuddler. | Photo courtesy: Shake Shack. 

Shake Shack partnered with weighted blanket company Bearaby to create the Crinkle Cut Cuddler, a fry-shaped, huggable body pillow. (I’m pretty sure I’ve dreamt of such a thing). The pillow comes with a washable, French fry-yellow cover and packaging inspired by a takeout box. The pillow sells for $149 on Bearaby’s website, with the first 100 orders receiving a voucher for free Shake Shack fries.

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