- Taco Bell is partnering with Certona to create a personalized digital ordering experience through its mobile app, according to a press release emailed to Restaurant Dive.
- Using machine learning and AI technology, the app will show users the most relevant menu items, promotions and content based on their individual preferences, past dining history, location, weather and restaurant specific menus and pricing.
- Taco Bell has worked with Certona since early 2019.
Taco Bell's decision to personalize its app is the next step in the restaurant experience as many brands are looking for ways to improve the consumer experience. While many brands are focused on in-house dining, the Mexican chain's focus on its app could be a strategic one.
According to a survey by financial services company Synchrony released in August 2018, mobile phone users have doubled the average number of apps they have on their devices from the year prior. An app also allows diners to engage with Taco Bell throughout the day compared to, for example, an AI-optimized drive-thru menu board. With more potential touchpoints via app, the tech can pull more data to create more effective customization.
If done successfully, personalization could help boost sales and foster greater customer loyalty in the face of increasing off-premise sales. A recent report from PSFK showed that 79% of diners reported wanting personalized menu recommendations based on their past order.
Taco Bell's news isn't the only one this week focused on personalization as Chili announced yesterday a partnership with front-of-house technology firm Presto. The casual dining restaurant plans to place PrestoPrime tabletops at its 1,250 restaurants to collect information about diner behavior, which will be used to provide guests with a more customized dining experience. It will remember the games they've played, whether they have kids, the price points they prefer and their favorite types of food.
QSRs appear to be leading the charge when it comes to personalization. McDonald's and Sonic have both added personalization to their drive-thru menu boards. McDonald's effort followed its acquisition of Dynamic Yield and featured a decision logic tree at its menus that quickly led to higher average sales. The technology offers suggestive sales of additional items based on real-time factors like location, weather and time. Sonic is also testing AI at its drive-thru in partnership with Mastercard and kiosk maker Zivelo, including similar real-time features.