The new Lyft promo in partnership with Taco Bell is an ingenious marketing idea, but a lot of people seem to think it stinks. Fortune writes about the backlash that the ridesharing app received from both riders and drivers alike for the controversial Taco Bell and Lyft promo 2017.
Lyft Promo with Taco Bell | A Slippery Slope?
Last Tuesday Lyft announced a new promotional partnership with Taco Bell that has received harsh criticism from drivers and passengers. The addition of “Taco Mode”—giving passengers the ability to make Taco Bell an intermediate stop on the way to their destination—brings the first-ever “ride-thru” experience into the rideshare market. The program will be optional for drivers to participate in.
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This plan sounded like a good idea, and it was — for a while. A lot of people raved about it on Twitter at first. However, much like a person sobering up after a long night out, concerns about things like sanitation and drive-thru lines soon followed. Above all else, allegations of Lyft caring less about drivers’ satisfaction rose up, leading some to assume the worst about the company’s commitment to the pleasant ridesharing atmosphere that it has always promised.
However, Lyft reminds concerned riders that the Taco Mode is entirely optional and is still in its trial phase.
New Lyft Promo | Taco Bell – 1, Lyft – 0
— Stacey DePolo🌻 (@sdepolo) August 10, 2017
After the scandals and PR blunders that hounded the competitor app, Uber, people turned to Lyft. These Uber errors made people hyper-aware and more discerning when it came to the ridesharing apps they supported. It’s understandable that Lyft is under scrutiny, particularly as it has shown so much promise, specifically in the context of driver support.
Taco Bell, on the other hand, took a major hit after a lawsuit was filed against them in regards to the quality of the meat that they use. A lawsuit of this kind is enough to bring any major food establishment down, but not Taco Bell. If there’s one thing Taco Bell is extremely good at, it’s customer analysis.
The fast food chain knows its customer base and how to appeal to them. It is, after all, the food chain that divided their customers into five categories (with one category called “status feeders”), and released an infographic detailing how often an average customer visits them in a week. 14.8% of Taco Bell customers visit between 10 pm and 4 am, presumably after a long night of drinking. This partnership addresses accessibility issues their fan base must be facing, which makes it a brilliant move on the part of Taco Bell. However, looking at the ensuing reactions of their drivers, it may not have been as good for Lyft.
Taco Mode | Brilliant, but Needs Improvement
— Ansible Australia (@AnsibleAu) July 31, 2017
A lot of the backlash comes from the fact that drivers did not have a say about their opinions before launching the promo. Cleaning fees and long drive thru lines are the main concerns. Deceptively simple, but one driver tells Business Insider:
That Lyft might go ahead and do this—encourage riders to do something most drivers dislike doing—without offering drivers an incentive or otherwise communicating to us what the plan is pretty bold, […] This is Uber type behavior, and I don’t think even Uber does stuff like this anymore, […] I wonder if it occurs to Taco Bell that drivers don’t like going through the drive-through.
Lyft reiterates that the promo is entirely optional at this point. The problem, however, is in the breach of trust. It released a promo without asking the drivers first, a promo which, examined carefully, asks too much of their drivers.
It might be optional, but drivers who participate in it don’t get bonuses. They would also have to take care of the mess customers leave in their car. If they do decide not to participate, they risk getting lower ratings from hungry riders who realize that they just got into a no-taco car.
The promo is still in its trial phase, and no one knows Lyft’s exact plans for this promo. One thing is for sure though: drivers trust Lyft to do right by them moving forward. Lyft drivers are not “employees,” after all, they are partners.
What do you think about the Taco Mode option? Share your thoughts in the comments below.