Taco Bell announced a partnership today with tech company Certona to use the latter’s platform to improve personalization for Taco Bell customers. Registered users of Taco Bell’s mobile app will be able to access more personalized recommendations and offers when ordering, according to the press announcement.
Using Certona’s AI-powered “personalization suite,” Taco Bell will be able to pull data on things like a customer’s past orders, dietary preferences and favorite items as well as outside factors like weather and a user’s location. It can then use that information to make more relevant menu recommendations and upsell suggestions.
The idea is to make it easier for customers to re-order favorites and also find new items that match their dietary preferences and restrictions.
It’s also a way for Taco Bell to drive more orders through its mobile app and increase its overall digital business — a must for QSR chains in today’s increasingly tech-forward industry. For Taco Bell, the Certona partnership will likely improve the overall user experience for pick-up orders, where a customer orders via the app then collects the food themselves.
Delivery is another story. Right now, Taco Bell customers can only order food for delivery via Grubhub, which means going into the third-party delivery service’s app and using their technology — not Taco Bell’s or Certona’s. That would seemingly limit the number of digital users Taco Bell can reach with the Certona integration. Though for all we know, the chain may have plans up its sleeve to eventually roll out a hybrid delivery strategy, as other fast food chains have done recently.
Taco Bell said nil about its delivery strategy in today’s press release. However, a hybrid strategy that makes it easier for registered Taco Bell users to access delivery — and therefore better personalization through Certona’s technology — from within Taco Bell’s own digital properties.
Regardless of whether Taco Bell pursues that strategy, today’s news certainly underscores the increasingly important role personalization plays when it comes to restaurant menus both off-premises and in the dining room. McDonald’s sent that trend mainstream last year when it acquired AI tech company Dynamic Yield to make its drive-thru menus more “Netflix-y.” Others have followed, from Starbucks to Chili’s, which announced earlier today a partnership with Presto to bring personalization right to customers’ tables.
Want more info on food personalization? Join us in NYC for The Spoon’s first-ever Customize event, taking place on February 27, 2020.