Mass Customization at Taco Bell

March 31, 2021
Mass Customization at Taco Bell

One of Taco Bell’s newest promotions is the My Cravings Box.

Taco Bell has offered a variety of $5 cravings boxes for several years, as part of its emphasis on value.  The items in the Cravings Boxes have changed over time.  Past offerings have included a Grande Nachos Box, Toasted Cheddar Chalupa Box, and Chalupa Cravings Box (to name a few.)

What makes the My Cravings box so different?

It’s customizable.

Not including beverages, customers can build their meal with 30 different combinations, by selecting from a choice of 5 specialty items, 3 starters, and 2 sides.

In order to customize the Cravings Box, customers must place the order online. There’s an app for that. Selectable items are part of Taco Bell’s normal menu.  Interestingly, it’s possible to create a couple of vegetarian combinations.


Video Spotlight: 


This post is based on the Yahoo! Finance article, Taco Bell Launches $5 ‘Cravings’ Box as Fast Food Races to Be ‘Competitive on Value’, by Brooke DiPalma,  February 13, 2021; the My Cravings Box page from TacoBell.com; and the YouTube video in the Spotlight. Image source: Scott Bauer/U.S. Department of Agriculture

Discussion Questions:

1. Why encourage customers to use their app for ordering?

Guidance: Driving customers to the app provides several advantages. First, it will improve Taco Bell’s efficiency and accuracy of order taking.  Improving efficiency and accuracy reduces the time to serve the customer in line, thus reducing the number of people in line, and time in line, both very important metrics, with the emphasis on drive-thru due to COVID.

An additional benefit is that Taco Bell is tracking information by customer.  This could allow them to profile customers.  Using this information could assist in developing new products, creating new promotions, and better targeting those promotions to customers.

2.   How is this an example of mass customization?

Guidance: Mass customization tries to obtain the benefits of mass production and customization.  Mass customization seeks to provide a variety of products at a low price with consistent quality.

In this case, Taco Bell is offering the customer the ability to select the items that go into their My Cravings Box that sell for $5.  The customer has a choice of 5 specialty items, 3 starters, 2 sides, and a variety of drinks.  Not considering the drinks, that represents 30 possible combinations (5 x 3 x 2 = 30).  Customers have a wide variety of choices for their My Cravings Box.

However, it is still efficient to produce, as Taco Bell is using modular components (specialty item, starter, side) to assembly the box.  This is not changing the items they make, or the components that they use for other products.

One of the biggest issues with mass customization is receiving the order through an efficient and accurate process.  The use of an app overcomes this problem. Customers are required to use the app to place the order, which reduces the ordering time.  Customers don’t have to order in the drive-thru line, which reduces waiting times in line.  It also increases the accuracy of the order.  There is no issue with hearing and entering the order correctly as the customer is now in charge of this process.

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