Taco Bell is testing a new taco subscription with unlimited tacos for $5, and it shows how the fight over customer loyalty is heating up

Taco Bell taco lover's pass
Taco Bell just introduced a taco subscription.

  • Taco Bell is testing a taco subscription in Arizona for $5 per month.
  • Subscriptions have been growing in the restaurant industry, pioneered by Panera and Pret.
  • The subscription also requires Taco Bell’s app, which can be a way to keep customers coming back.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Taco Bell is testing a new 30-day taco subscription, the chain announced on Monday.

Any customer who can get their hands on one of the Taco Lover’s Passes, which run for anywhere from $5 to $10 depending on location, is eligible for a free taco daily for 30 days.

To cash in on your taco, head to Taco Bell’s app where you can order a Crunchy Taco, Spicy Potato Soft Taco, Crunchy Supreme Taco, Soft Supreme Taco, Doritos Locos Tacos or Doritos Locos Tacos Supreme, according to the press release.

The trial went live on September 9 at 17 participating locations in Tuscon, AZ. It will continue through November 24, Taco Bell said.

Other chains have tested out subscriptions as a way to keep regular customers coming in and spending money in what some experts have dubbed the “subscription economy.” Restaurants are following the success of subscription models from Netflix and Amazon in the subscription sales industry, which is projected to hit $263 billion by 2025 according to Juniper Research.

Panera launched a daily coffee subscription for $9 per month in 2020, followed by Pret A Manger’s similar program in the UK, which offered up to five drinks per day for $26.60 a month. Both companies call the programs a success for bringing in new customers and keeping them coming back.

“We see businesses that are playing in subscriptions are out-competing businesses that are not,” Sean Keith, director of new business development at Eagle Eye, which powers Pret’s subscription, previously told Insider.

For restaurants, subscriptions go hand-in-hand with investment in apps and customer loyalty programs. The Taco Lover’s Pass is available exclusively through Taco Bell’s app, which also has special discounts and promotions on limited-time menu items.

Rewards programs have become nearly essential for fast food chains to attract and keep customers, so these deals are the incentive to get customers using them. Popeyes just launched a program that offers some freebies just for signing up. Starbucks has a popular app with customers so loyal that they sparked a backlash when the chain changed how rewards were calculated. Chipotle’s in-app rewards program has been a huge success, reaching 20 million members within two years of launching.

Rewards programs seem to be more important than ever as they incentivize return visits and give companies valuable customer data, and the Taco Lover’s Pass is just one more way companies can convince customers to download the app.

Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at mmeisenzahl@businessinsider.com.

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Fast food menus are finally growing again after getting down to the basics in 2020

Popeyes nuggets
Popeyes is adding nuggets.

  • Many fast-food chains are finally growing their menus again with new food items.
  • In 2020, most chains cut down menus to just best-selling items to make restaurants more efficient.
  • One expert says brands are trying to keep customers interested with the draw of new items.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Fast food menus contracted across the industry in 2020 and into 2021, but they’re finally growing again, and it’s a sign that the restaurant industry is getting back to normal.

Most of the major chains have introduced new menu items in the past few months. McDonald’s just launched a glazed doughnut for a limited time, Popeyes launched nuggets, Subway overhauled nearly its entire menu and Taco Bell brought back the crispy chicken sandwich taco.

“We’re back in a phase where menus are starting to grow,” Mark Kalinowski, Kalinowski Equity Research CEO told Insider. Businesses are reopening and getting back to normal, so customers can expect more growth in the near future, though menus might not be as extensive as they were right before COVID-19 hit.

Fast food menus abruptly shrank across the board in 2020 as chains tried to keep service going through a pandemic. Taco Bell cut more than a dozen items in 2020, including fan favorites like the seven-layer burrito, potatoes and Mexican pizza. Despite outcry from fans last year, the cuts paid off – in the third quarter of 2020, Taco Bell served 30 million more customers than in all of 2019, and each order was completed 17 seconds faster.

McDonald’s made a similar move in 2020, rolling out a limited menu that only included best-selling items like Big Macs, fries, and McMuffins. It also stopped serving breakfast all day, which still hasn’t returned nationwide. McDonald’s senior vice president of operations Bill Garrett told Insider that the changes were
“to simplify operations in our kitchens and for our crew, and ensure the best possible experience for our customer.”

“Last year was such a gigantic uncertainty, [smaller menus] made things more simple,” Kalinowski said. Simplifying menus helped limit wait times for customers, which became more important than ever as drive-thrus were suddenly the primary, and sometimes only, way customers could visit their favorite chains.

Now, over a year into the pandemic, fast food executives are still touting the importance of drive-thrus to the health of their businesses, and with that the need to keep lines short and wait times down. But these chains also need to keep customers coming back, and new menu items are a big appeal, Kalinowski said.

McDonald’s already figured out a way to have the excitement of a new item launch without adding much complexity for staff with its Famous Orders, which use a celebrity endorsement to create excitement around combinations of already-existing menu items.

The Travis Scott meal fall of 2020 was so popular that some locations ran out of Quarter Pounder ingredients. It was also enriching for Scott personally, as he netted at least $20 million from the deal, according to Forbes. The spring BTS meal was also popular, driving traffic to restaurants giving McDonald’s its busiest week of the year to date. Both the Travis Scott and J Balvin meals broke records in the US, CEO Chris Kempczinski said in an earnings call.

Now, with profits up and customers returning, chains are betting that they’re ready to handle new menu items, even with staffing shortages.

Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at mmeisenzahl@businessinsider.com.

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Taco Bell wants you to collect your used sauce packets to help reduce waste

taco bell hot sauce
You should at least try one.

  • Taco Bell announced a way to recycle old hot sauce packets.
  • The company is partnering with TerraCycle to recycle them.
  • A plastic advocacy group alleged TerraCycle doesn’t recycle everything, which the company refuted.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Don’t toss out that empty Taco Bell hot sauce packet just yet. That small plastic pouch might have more to give.

Taco Bell on Thursday announced a partnership for its sauce packets with TerraCycle, a recycling business focused on taking traditionally non-recyclable materials and turning them into new products like furniture, jewelry, and bags. Some items are simply re-sewn into totes whereas some are melted and re-shaped into goods.

The massive taco chain said 8.2 billion sauce packets are thrown out each year, leading the company to commission TerraCycle in April to find a use for all that waste. After nearly six months of planning, the two groups have implemented a simple system for American taco lovers:

  1. Make an account on TerraCycle’s website
  2. Collect used packets in a box (eat the sauce in them first)
  3. Print a free shipping label
  4. Send the box back to TerraCycle

Recycling with TerraCycle appears easy but comes with a catch

TerraCycle’s process for sending in Taco Bell sauces is free for consumers to use, but recycling virtually anything else from the company requires purchasing a “Zero Waste Box,” pouch, or pallet that can cost from $42 to $1,600.

According to Resource Recycling, the Zero Waste Box was the “second-biggest money maker” for the company in 2020 with $7.5 million in net sales.

Taco Bell is not the first major corporation to work with TerraCycle: several shampoo companies, makeup distributors, and other food suppliers have partnered with the group to create similar projects.

Recycling advocates told Vox in August that they’ve tried to take part in TerraCycle’s advertised partnerships in the past to no avail.

Leticia Socal, a sustainability blogger, told Vox that there’s a tremendous backlog for the company’s partnered promotions.

“There is this huge waitlist,” Socal said. “For some of them, I have been waiting for more than one year.”

Recycling advocates have also alleged that TerraCycle has repeatedly stretched the truth on what it can and does recycle in its facilities.

The Last Beach Cleanup, a plastic pollution awareness organization, sued TerraCycle in March, alleging that “most of the Products are not actually recycled.” The group said this leads consumers to believe they’re helping the environment when the items are actually being brought to a landfill or incinerator.

“Defendants are therefore reaping the rewards of portraying themselves as environmentally friendly by marketing the Products as recyclable while offering no corresponding benefit to the environment or to consumers concerned about sustainability,” the lawsuit states.

Tom Szaky, TerraCycle’s CEO, refuted the substance of the lawsuit and told Resource Recycling that everything the company receives is ultimately recycled.

“It’s our entire reputation, all of our clients who are the biggest companies in the world, they are contracting with us to carry out a promise,” Szaky said. “We legally guarantee, in all of our contracts, recycling.”

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Wendy’s just opened its first restaurant in a Walmart and it sells exclusive items like a strawberry Frosty and Jalapeno Cheddar Nuggets

Wendy's hamburger stand in Walmart
Wendy’s opened a burger stand in an Ohio Walmart.

  • Wendy’s just opened its first Walmart location in Ohio.
  • The hamburger stand has exclusive nugget and frosty sundae flavors.
  • Walmart has partnered with Domino’s and Taco Bell to open in-store locations.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Wendy’s just opened a restaurant inside a Walmart in Heath, Ohio with some variations on the typical menu.

The Wendy’s Hamburger Stand inside the Walmart is much smaller than a regular restaurant, and has “a look and feel that’s whimsical, reflecting our brand identity in a unique and modern way,” a Wendy’s spokesperson told Insider.

Wendy’s says the location will have some classic menu items, plus some exclusive items only available there. Nuggets will be available in Buttermilk Ranch and Jalapeno Cheddar flavors, and the store will sell a new strawberry frosty flavor. The stand will also sell frosty sundaes in Chocolate Lover and Strawberry Celebration flavors.

“There are big opportunities for Wendy’s to reach consumers where they live, work, and play, and that includes non-traditional venues where we have captive market audiences like airports, universities, and retail environments, like Walmart. We know that Wendy’s fans are looking for great food on the go, at a reasonable price, to feed themselves and their families,” the Wendy’s spokesperson told Insider.

Read more: How a tiny food-tech startup convinced industry heavyweights like Chick-fil-A and Taco Bell to rely on it to fight a labor shortage

Walmart leases space, often near the front of its stores, to other businesses, including restaurants. The big-box chain partners with national chains and local businesses, depending on the needs of the community, a spokesperson previously told Insider.

“We’re looking to both restaurants and services that are really relevant to our customers – be it local businesses, a service that has localized relevance, or a larger chain that is really delivering on how customers are looking to shop and get their meals and create an eco-system for our customers,” a Walmart spokesperson told Insider.

While hundreds of McDonald’s restaurants inside Walmart stores closed over the last several years, Walmart has slowly added Domino’s and Taco Bell locations. There are also plans for an even smaller Wendy’s Snack Shop in another Walmart in Ohio.

Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at mmeisenzahl@businessinsider.com.

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Drive-thrus are getting larger and larger with no end in sight

7-Eleven Drive-thru store
7-Eleven Drive-thru store.

  • Taco Bell just announced plans for a four-lane drive-thru slated for summer 2022.
  • Competing chains are already adding lanes to drive-thrus, Taco Bell just upped the ante.
  • Drive-thrus became crucial to fast food during the pandemic, and chains continue to invest in them.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Taco Bell just released plans for a four-lane drive-thru set to open next summer, and it’s making the inevitable clear: drive-thrus are just going to keep getting bigger.

The new drive-thru concept will be owned by one of the biggest Taco Bell franchisees in the country, with three lanes dedicated to mobile orders alongside a fourth, traditional lane. A contactless food delivery system that “defies gravity” will transport orders from the kitchen above down to cars through a lift system.

Taco Bell drive-thru concept
Taco Bell’s new concept is set to open in summer 2022.

The concept immediately inspired memes and comparisons. So far, it’s been compared to an EZ Pass highway toll booth, a bank, and even the color scheme from the Ryan Gosling movie “Drive.” The comparisons are funny, and frankly the drive-thru does look like a bank, but the concept itself is less ridiculous than it seems at first.

Looking back, drive-thrus getting bigger seems inevitable. Back in 2019 fast food brands ramped up a kind of drive-thru arms race; McDonald’s rolled out new technology to decrease wait times, while traditionally drive-thru-less chains like Chipotle ramped up Chipotlanes. At the same time, Starbucks and Dunkin’ were each experimenting with drive-thru pickup for mobile orders.

The pandemic sped everything up. Suddenly drive-thrus weren’t just a way to do business, they were the primary way customers felt safe visiting restaurants amid closed dining rooms and health concerns. Typically, drive-thrus account for 70% of sales at fast-food chains. But in 2020 chains like Wendy’s and McDonald’s said it was closer to 90%.

To accommodate growing drive-thru traffic, they simply had to get. bigger. Chick-fil-A has been opening double-lane drive-thrus across the country. Starbucks has followed this example as part of its initiative to close lower-performing stores and focusing on mobile and drive-thru locations. The coffee chain has started installing double lanes, too.

McDonald's drive-thru review

McDonald’s, which already has some double-lane drive-thrus, also released a concept for on-the-go stores focused on takeout and delivery orders, with extra lanes for customers who ordered through the app. Like the Taco Bell concept, McDonald’s suggested some orders would even be delivered by conveyor belts.

shake shack drive thru

Shake Shack’s design for its first-ever drive-thrus, planned to open sometime in 2022, skips the traditional single lane step altogether. Instead, the burger chain is jumping right into the multi-lane designs that are growing more popular in the industry, with three lanes to accommodate mobile and on-site orders.

“Why not test out something like this? They can learn an awful lot, and maybe this is the way the market will trend in the long run,” Mark Kalinowski, founder of Kalinowski Equity Research, told Insider. “It’s a futuristic way of thinking, and restaurants are getting more willing to be a little different.”

The COVID-19 pandemic and its variants are still ongoing, but many places in the US have attempted to return to normal life. The reign of drive-thrus is nowhere near over, though, as McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Taco Bell all emphasized how crucial they are to business in just the last few weeks.

Americans have rediscovered their love of drive-thrus, and they’re not going back.

Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at mmeisenzahl@businessinsider.com.

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Americans have rediscovered their love for the drive-thru

McDonald's drive thru
  • Fast-food chains are continuing to emphasize drive-thru improvements.
  • Drive-thrus were critical for chains when the pandemic closed indoor dining.
  • Now customers can eat inside again, but drive-thrus are still key for business after customers rediscovered it.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Restaurant dining rooms are reopening in most of the US, but Americans are still drive-thru devotees.

Major fast-food brands reported quarterly earnings this week, and executives made it clear that drive-thrus are still huge for business.

Yum Brands Chief Financial Officer Chris Turner emphasized Taco Bell’s drive-thru success over the last quarter to investors in an earnings call. “The drive-thru experience is an increasingly critical competitive advantage for our brands,” he said, noting that drive-thru times improved by six seconds year over year even as the chain served four million more cars.

Taco Bell has increasingly prioritized drive-thrus over the last 18 months and made some major changes to improve the drive-thru experience. To some customers’ dismay, last year the chain cut over a dozen items, including potatoes and and Nachos Supreme, to shorten wait times. The cuts paid off – in the third quarter of 2020, Taco Bell served 30 million more customers than in all of 2019, and each order was completed 17 seconds faster.

Read more: Subway tried to give away 1 million sandwiches to promote its new menu. Franchisees say almost nobody wanted them.

Starbucks similarly credits its drive-thrus with the chain’s strong recovery as pandemic restrictions eased. “We continue to see strong sales recovery in the rural and suburban areas of the business, and in particular drive-thru,” Group President, North America and COO John Culver told investors.

Culver said that Starbucks is focusing on decreasing drive-thru wait times for customers. The chain has been testing new strategies for keeping drive-thru wait times down, even as customizations remain popular and average ticket size is elevated. Baristas can take orders through digital drive-thru screens, which the company previously said are installed at about 3,800 stores. Finally, Starbucks is also renovating 150 US drive-thrus that are space-constrained to make them more efficient, Culver said.

McDonald’s also emphasized the importance of drive-thrus in an earnings call. CEO Chris Kempczinski began the call by talking about the “iconic” McDonald’s experience and referencing how the chain pioneered drive-thrus in the early 1970s. He touted McDonald’s improved drive-thru times, which have shortened by 30 seconds in the last several years, with a slight three-second setback this year. He says times are still improving, though hurt by the labor shortage.

Like its competitors, McDonald’s is also investing in drive-thrus to make them even fast and more efficient. McDonald’s corporate has been pushing franchisees to upgrade drive-thrus since 2019 after years of increasingly long wait times. Since then, many of the chain’s 14,000 US drive-thrus now have double lanes, which are key to reducing bottlenecks. McDonald’s is also still working with AI technology in drive-thrus from the startup it bought in 2019, Aprente. Kempczinski said that the technology is in ten drive-thrus right now.

The future of indoor dining is uncertain right now as the Delta variant of COVID-19 spreads and some municipalities reinstate mask mandates, even for vaccinated customers. Drive-thrus allowed fast-food chains to thrive in 2020, and these companies are continuing to invest in the drive-thru.

Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at mmeisenzahl@businessinsider.com.

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Fast food has gotten way more expensive in the last year

McDonald's
  • Fast food prices are rising across the industry.
  • Dunkin’, McDonald’s, and Taco Bell have seen the biggest increases, according to analysts.
  • Shipping issues, labor shortages, and weather events all contribute to rising prices.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Prices at fast-food chains will continue to rise as ingredients and labor grow more expensive.

Chipotle raised prices across the menu by about 4% in June, a move the company says was prompted by increased wages for workers.

The average Chipotle meal will cost 30 to 40 cents more than it did before, and a spokesperson told Insider that the price hike will compensate for the recent wage increases for workers. In April, the fast-casual chain said it would raise average hourly wages to $15 per hour by the end of June, an increase of $2 over the $13 an hour average pay.

Nearly every fast food and fast-casual chain will likely follow, according to analysts at Gordon Haskett in a report released Thursday.

Read more: Kraft Heinz employees and analysts say 3G Capital’s cost-cutting business strategy is setting it up for failure. Here’s how the private equity firm’s playbook left it playing catchup to its rivals.

Analysts looked at 24 restaurant chains over the span of a year and found 17 of them are currently running price increases, and price increases, on the whole, are growing in both size and frequency. Quick service restaurants have seen the largest increases, averaging 6% compared to 3% at fast-casual and 1% in casual chains. Most of these increases have been implemented since March 2021.

Based on Gordon Haskett analysis, the greatest price increases have been 10% at Taco Bell, 8% at McDonald’s, and 8% at Dunkin’, follow by Chipotle and The Cheesecake Factory. Exact prices vary by market. Applebee’s, Papa John’s, Red Robin, and a few others have not adopted any price increases over the past year.

Labor costs are partially the cause of these rising prices. A truck driver shortage is making transportation more expensive, while restaurants, grocery stores, and factories are all struggling to keep fully staffed. Processing plants and farms are facing the same problems, for example, chicken farms don’t have enough employees, so they’re struggling to process birds quickly.

Labor costs might have increased for restaurants over the last year, but so did the price of ingredients. US consumer prices hit their highest level in 13 years in May, increasing 5% over the previous year. Staple Chipotle items, like corn and avocados, grew more expensive this year as demand rose and shipping delays drove prices further up. Experts say rising food costs are a combination of growing demand as consumers increase spending and supply chain struggles. Shipping delays and severe weather events have made crucial commodities more expensive and difficult to obtain.

Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at mmeisenzahl@businessinsider.com.

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Taco Bell is bringing back nacho fries for the 6th time in 4 years

Taco Bell nacho fries
Taco Bell is bringing back Nacho Fries.

  • Taco Bell’s fan-favorite Nacho Fries are coming back.
  • They debuted in the US in 2018 as the most successful launch ever by the chain.
  • Since then Taco Bell periodically brings them back for a short time.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Taco Bell is bringing back Nacho Fries beginning July 22.

Nacho Fries frequently make their way back onto Taco Bell menus. It’s french fries dusted with a spicy seasoning and served with nacho cheese dipping sauce. The item will be available for $1.39. This time around, they will also come in a loaded taco-style option, served covered in a layer of warm nacho cheese, sour cream, and beef.

Taco Bell’s Nacho Fries frequently come and go from the menu, not unlike McDonald’s McRib.

Nacho Fries launched in the US in 2018, but they were already popular around the world by that point. The fries served mostly as a base for other flavors, like loaded fries in Japan and Fries Supreme in Canada. After years of fans begging, Taco Bell US finally launched the much-anticipated fries in the US.

Read more: Taco Bell CEO Mark King explains how ‘restless creativity’ and redesigned store experiences will help the chain nearly double its sales to $20 billion a year

When they did come to the US in 2018, they were a hit, becoming the most successful launch in Taco Bell history. The limited-time menu item was ordered 53 million times between January and April, when it was removed from menus. Same-store sales increased 1% in the quarter when fries were available, and 25% of all Taco Bell orders during that timeframe included fries, Kate Taylor reported for Insider.

Taco bell loaded nacho fries
Taco Bell is bringing back Nacho Fries.

Fries were back on menus briefly in the summer of 2018, and then again in January 2019. They were back for a fourth time in June 2019 with Bell Grande and Supreme options, which both included beef, cheese sauce, tomatoes, and sour cream. In January 2020, Taco Bell added some variety with a buffalo chicken fry topping. Now, nacho fries are back for the sixth time in four years.

The short-term availability only seems to make them more appealing to customers. Taco Bell’s Twitter replies are often filled with customers asking when Nacho Fries are coming back, or saying how much they miss them. There are even recipes online that attempt to mimic Taco Bell’s.

Taco Bell frequently changes its menu, though the rollout of new items slowed slightly during the pandemic. Few fan-favorite items are ever really gone for good. Instead, the chain cycles through limited-time promotions of dishes like the Naked Chicken Chalupa and Potatorito.

Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at mmeisenzahl@businessinsider.com.

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Taco Bell is testing a vegan chalupa shell made from peas as it strives for meatless fast-food dominance

taco bell
  • Taco Bell is selling a vegan pea protein chalupa shell in one location.
  • It previously tested a vegetarian protein made from chickpeas and peas.
  • The chain is usually considered a top fast food option for vegans and vegetarians.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Taco Bell is testing a vegetarian version of the controversial Naked Chicken Chalupa.

The original consists of a crunchy fried chicken shell wrapped around lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and avocado ranch sauce, and was first introduced back in 2017. Taco Bell brought it back the next year, and then again in 2021. The limited-time vegetarian option will replace the fried chicken with a breaded pea protein blend, crisped and shaped into a chalupa shell. The dish can also be made without dairy to be fully vegan.

“We’ve long been a food disruptor, and this time is no different,” Liz Matthews, the chain’s global chief food innovation officer, said in a statement.

Read more: Panera Bread founder Ron Shaich explains why he led a $500 million acquisition of Taco Bell’s loyalty platform Punchh

The vegan chalupa shell is only available at one restaurant right now – 2222 Barranca Pkwy in Irvine, California – until June 27, and sells for $3.49

Taco Bell is usually a go-to fast-food chain for vegans and vegetarians, which the company has openly courted as it “strives to become the leader in vegetarian in the QSR industry” according to a press release. Black beans can be substituted for meat in most dishes, and ordering items “fresco style” replaces dairy add-ons with tomatoes, making those dishes vegan. In April, the chain tested a new “Craveatarian” protein made from chickpeas and peas.

Taco Bell says it is teaming up with Beyond Meat for a “new innovative plant-based protein, something not quite yet seen in the industry.” It has not released details on where and when it will launch.

Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at mmeisenzahl@businessinsider.com.

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Taco Bell is giving away free tacos to vaccinated customers across California, as part of the state’s Vax for the Win scheme

Taco Bell Quesalupa + Black Bean Quesalupa
Eligible customers can claim a free Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos taco from Tuesday.

  • Taco Bell is offering free tacos to vaccinated individuals living in California.
  • Customers have to show their vaccination cards at participating locations to be eligible.
  • The deal is part of Gavin Newsom’s Vax for the Win scheme, which aims to drive up vaccination rates.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Fast-food chain Taco Bell is the latest company to get in on the huge vaccination drive taking place across the state of California. It is offering free tacos to customers who have received at least one dose of their COVID-19 vaccines from Tuesday.

Customers who show their vaccination card at participating California Taco Bell restaurants will be eligible for a Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos taco at no cost, the company said in a press release.

The company announced its offer as part of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Vax for the Win incentive program.

Mark King, CEO of Taco Bell Corp, said in the press release: “It’s been a tough year, and we are all ready to put COVID-19 behind us.”

“We are thrilled to do our part and give back to our home state with something everyone knows and loves to celebrate those who have made the decision to get vaccinated,” he added.

At least 70% of Californian adults have received at least one dose of immunization, according to Newsom. However, there is still a large population of young people who need to get vaccinated or receive their second dose.

The brand hopes the effort will increase vaccinations in these specific groups to help reopen the state in a safe manner.

Other companies across the US are also offering workers perks for getting immunized. Retailers like Target and Dollar General announced incentives including extra pay and paid time off, as Insider’s Natasha Dailey and Brittany Chang reported.

But for other customers, not getting vaccinated also has its perks. In March, a New Jersey gym announced it was offering free memberships to people who refuse to take a COVID-19 vaccine.

Prior to the offer, the owners of the gym were arrested last year for refusing to abide by the state’s pandemic-based orders.

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