These days it seems there are subscription services for everything, from meal kits to clothes to dog toys. Now you can add fast food to that list. Taco Bell and 7-Eleven recently announced new and potentially money-saving ways for customers to experience their favorite offerings.
If these subscription services prove popular, more fast-food restaurants may jump on the bandwagon, ushering in a whole new era for fast-food fans. FinanceBuzz surveyed 1,000 people across the country to gauge how interested people are in the new Taco Bell offering, explore which chains people most and least want to create a similar service, and more.
- People are evenly divided on the Taco Bell subscription service — 42% expressed interest in giving it a try, while another 42% said they aren't interested.
- Among those not interested in the service, the most common reason — cited by nearly 1 in 3 — was not liking Taco Bell.
- Starbucks (36%) and Chick-fil-A (36%) are the fast-food chains people would be most excited to see offering a subscription service.
Are people excited about Taco Bell’s new subscription service?
First, let’s look at how Taco Bell’s new subscription service — the Taco Lover’s Pass — works. The pass allows subscribers to receive one taco every day for a single monthly price of $10. Eligible tacos include regular and supreme versions of crunchy and soft tacos, regular and supreme versions of the Doritos Locos Tacos, as well as the Spicy Potato Soft Taco.
When we asked survey respondents how interested they would be in subscribing to such a service, 42% of people said they would “Definitely” or “Probably” be interested. Another 42% of people said they would “Probably not” or “Definitely not” be interested.
With opinions so evenly split, we wanted to discover why some people aren’t interested in the service. To do that, we asked everyone who expressed neutral or negative interest to tell us the reasons why they would be likely to pass on the pass.
The most common reason people aren’t interested in the Taco Bell subscription service is simple: They just don’t like Taco Bell. One-third of people not interested in the taco pass cited that as a reason. Reasons relating to things like food selections, health, and value were all chosen by around one-fourth of respondents.
When given the chance to be more specific after selecting “Other,” the two most common reasons given were the lack of convenient access to a Taco Bell location and not craving Taco Bell food often enough to make the pass worthwhile.
Given how often getting value out of the pass was cited, we found how frequently someone would have to use the pass to make it a good deal.
Who saves money with a Taco Bell subscription?
Pass-eligible taco prices range from $1.00 to $1.89 at most locations, with tacos costing $1.45 on average. At that price point, someone would have to use their taco pass at least seven times a month to make it worthwhile.
If you choose the cheapest taco every visit, the $1 Spicy Potato Soft Taco, it takes 10 visits just to break even. On the other hand, six visits are the fewest needed to get value by exclusively using the Taco Lover’s Pass for any of the eligible supreme tacos ($1.69-$1.89).
Even when choosing the most expensive tacos every visit, someone would have to visit Taco Bell more than once a week to get their money’s worth with the Taco Lover's Pass. With that in mind, it isn’t surprising that when we broke down interest by how often survey respondents said they eat fast food every month, those who eat out the most are also the most likely to have a positive interest in the subscription.
The fast-food chains people most want to offer subscriptions
Taco Bell is breaking new ground with the Taco Lover’s Pass. If it succeeds, other chains may follow suit and offer their own monthly subscriptions. That’s why we asked our survey respondents to tell us whether they would be interested in a monthly subscription at 11 of the other largest fast-food chains in the country.
Starbucks and Chick-fil-A are the two most popular chains, each with 36% of respondents saying they'd be interested in a subscription. Two other chains, Subway and McDonald’s, also garnered positive responses from at least one-third of people. All told, 80% of respondents said they would be interested in a subscription service from at least one of the listed chains.
While Starbucks and Chick-fil-A proved most popular overall, we dove a little deeper into the data and found that the frequency of fast food consumption again impacted preferences. People who eat fast food at least six times a month are most interested in a McDonald’s subscription, while those who only eat fast food one to five times in a given month chose Chick-fil-A at the highest rate.
Tips for saving while dining out
Whether fast food is a way of life or an occasional treat, subscription services aren’t the only ways to save some money at the drive-thru window. Here are some tips for saving the next time you head to your favorite restaurant:
- Get birthday freebies at all your favorite restaurants. Your birthday only comes once a year, so make the most of it by taking advantage of all the birthday freebies available from different stores and restaurants.
- Earn rewards when you eat out. Many credit cards offer benefits such as cash back or travel rewards when used while dining out, yet some credit card programs take it even further. The best credit cards for dining go above and beyond by offering things like dining-specific points multipliers, dining credits, and exclusive culinary experiences.
- Make money while visiting your favorite restaurants. For anyone looking for a solid side hustle, earning extra cash working for one of the top food delivery services is a good place to start. As an added bonus, fast foodies will have plenty of opportunities to pick up a little something for themselves while on the job!
FinanceBuzz surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults age 18 and older, who comprise a nationally representative sample, on January 12, 2022. Average Taco Bell taco prices were found via RealMenuPrices.com on January 26, 2022.