News & Views

Lyft & Taco Bell / Taco Mode

by Contagious Contributor
This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O, our intelligence tool featuring the most creative and effective ideas in marketing from around the world

Fast food brand partners with ride sharing service to provide end-of-the-night meals

To make it even easier for hungry revellers to get their grub at the end of a night out, Lyft passengers can now book a stop off at a Taco Bell drive-through.

The service is available between 9pm and 2am and can be requested within the app by selecting Taco Mode. Taco Bell is providing in-car menus and incorporating its branding into the Lyft app and vehicles. Passengers will also receive a complimentary Doritos Locos Taco with their order.

Lyft drivers can choose whether to opt into the service, which is currently being trialled  in the Newport Beach area. The brands plan to roll it out to Southern California and then nationally.

Contagious Insight / 

Answering appetites / By allowing people to kill two birds with one stone, the service has clear appeal for customers. Taco Bell’s research showed that many people want to stop off for food during their cab ride home, but hold back from asking. ‘Some people are either afraid to ask or don’t know if they can ask,’ Taco Bell’s CMO Marisa Thalberg told The New York Times. ‘We’re taking all those questions marks of, “Would it be unseemly to ask my Lyft driver to go through the Taco Bell drive-through?” And now we’re not only going to make it permissible, we’re going to celebrate this behavior.’

Taco tactics / At the end of the night when people are tired and hungry, they are likely to opt for the easiest option when it comes to getting food. So to target these late-night customers, Taco Bell has made itself competitively convenient. ‘I think of this like inverse delivery — like we’re delivering you to Taco Bell,’ said Thalberg. ‘You’re being delivered to the food as opposed to having to get in your own car and drive.’

Brand lift for Lyft / The service should help boost awareness about Lyft and may even attract new users. Its ethically-questionable rival Uber has had a turbulent year, culminating with the resignation of CEO Travis Kalanick, and lost market share in the US as a result. As the country’s second largest taxi app, Lyft has benefitted from Uber’s various scandals, helped by its positioning as an ethical or ‘woke’ alternative. For example, in the seven days following the #deleteuber protest Lyft saw its passenger activations increase by 60%, according to Business Insider.

The partnership with Taco Bell comes at a good time for the brand, hot on the (wheels?) of the positive publicity surrounding Lyft’s culture and rising popularity. The service provides people with another, delicious reason to choose it over Uber.