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Brief Published: 7 Nov 2014

On-the-Go Tech Tacos

Taco Bell's New App

US fast-food giant Taco Bell has launched a new app that allows customers to create and customise their own tacos before collecting from their nearest restaurant.

Tapping into the trend for 'hacking the menu', as explored in Future Service: Destination Dining, customers can design their own meals from Taco Bell's menu of meats and vegetables, cheeses and toppings. To ensure the food is as fresh as possible, users are asked to 'check-in' when they arrive within 500ft of a store, alerting the kitchen to begin making their order.

"There are literally billions of combinations of Taco Bell ingredients that you can put into this thing," Taco Bell chief marketing officer Chris Brandt told US magazine Fast Company. "But it isn't just a nice little marketing exercise. We think it has a great business application, too."

As part of a marketing campaign surrounding the launch of the app, Taco Bell blacked out its pages on social media sites including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and encouraged consumers to use the hashtag #onlyintheapp on social media.

Allowing consumers to customise meals to suit personal preferences and dietary requirements is becoming an increasingly popular trend among fast-casual dining establishments, as explored in Future Fast Food. US chain Wendy's offers burgers that can be personalised with an array of sauces, toppings, buns and styles of chicken, while McDonald's in Australia is installing Create Your Own Kiosks. Read more about this in Feeding Gen Y.

This is the latest of several efforts made by Taco Bell to attract the lucrative millennial market. The chain dropped kids meals from its menu in January 2014, and also launched a marketing campaign via social media app Snapchat earlier this year. It has also announced plans to open a gourmet restaurant in California, which will serve a choice of 10 upscale tacos, alongside habanero-dusted fries and tequila-spiked milkshakes. See Taco Bell Goes High-End for more.