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Taco Bell’s delivery

Matthew Robison | Wednesday, April 20, 2011

There are certain eternally-perplexing questions that have troubled humanity since the inception of rational thought. What is the ultimate nature of reality? What is the purpose of our existence? And perhaps most confusing — why doesn’t Taco Bell deliver?

All of us in our post-parietal haze have asked this age-old question, and all of us have been left empty-handed and hungry, pining for the warm, zesty touch of a cheesy gordita crunch and a steak quesadilla.

So why must we be forbidden that which we so desire? Sure, we could just get in a car and drive to Taco Bell. But with the modern convenience of delivery, why exert the extra effort?

From a safety standpoint, there are positive externalities to the creation of a delivery system for Taco Bell. The majority of Taco Bell’s latenight consumers have been consuming beverages or other substances that may have them at a level of impairment that hinders them from properly operating a vehicle. Therefore, Taco Bell’s delivery drivers would be taking a considerable number of unsafe drivers off the road. Also, with energy prices skyrocketing and the impact of car emissions becoming better understood, having a driver reach several customers in one sweep would be a much more efficient option than all those customers making individual trips to the drive-thru.

Further, Taco Bell cannot pretend to be oblivious to the fact that they are serving this type of population. They have an entire marketing campaign directed toward them. By advertising the “fourthmeal” latenight option with drive-thru windows open until 4 a.m. or later, Taco Bell is playing right into the hands of a food-craving, latenight snacking market segment.

I can understand why Taco Bell and its parent company Yum! Brands would not want to associate their marketing campaigns (or their products in general) with serving an inebriated population, but they cannot deny that they’ve already done so with their “fourthmeal” campaign.

So, to better serve their most loyal customers, Taco Bell needs to reevaluate their current practice of not delivering. The positive social benefits seem to outweigh any negative impact that a delivery system could have. Taco Bell will see greater revenues as they will gain sales from those customers who choose not to drive, either because they know they should not be on the road or because they do not have access to a vehicle.

Once Taco Bell wisens up and puts some gentlemen in a fleet of mid-1990s Japanese hatchbacks to deliver their precious pseudo-Mexican cuisine, all will seem right in the world. Then, we can all go back to pondering the other eternal perplexities of the universe.

The views expressed in this Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Contact Matthew Robison at mrobison@nd.edu