BrainTrust Query: Taco Bell – What Does Value Mean?
Commentary by Jonathan Marek, senior vice president, Applied Predictive
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is
a summary of a current article from Applied Predictive Technologies’ Food
For Thought blog.
In a recent interview with Adweek, Taco Bell CMO
David Ovens made the distinction between "price value", "abundant
value" and "quality
value." At the time, it just sounded confusing, but with the Cantina
Taco launch I’m really warming to his distinction and to their value
In the article, Taco Bell’s value positioning was
broken out this way:
- Price Value is what I (and probably most people) associate
with Taco Bell. For example, 79-, 89-, 99-cent price points. Taco Bell owns
- Abundant Value is a hefty item at a fair price. Triple steak
burrito is an example Mr. Ovens used.
- Quality Value is a change in perception about Taco Bell.
Cantina Tacos, designed to replicate authentic street tacos, fit the mold
perfectly. Each taco (premium fire-grilled chicken, premium cut carne asada
steak or carnitas shredded pork) costs $1.49.
This framework provides a mindset for product development, as there will be
an internal need to fill the pipeline in each category. It also provides structure
to communicate to customers, e.g., Abundant Value = ads like this.
it provides a great background for testing, as it sets up a range of risks
and potential benefits. Margin risk can be mitigated by Price Value testing.
New product risk can be mitigated by Quality Value testing. For example, the
early reviews on food sites are that the Cantina Tacos are very good … but
will people buy them? Will it work in California, land of the taco truck? In
Texas, land of the flour tortilla? In the Midwest, where corn means tortilla
In addition to great insights into what specific products are working,
testing can help find themes among the most successful offerings by value category.
Certainly Quality Value works for others in QSR. Will QV work for Taco Bell?
If so, what media message and vehicles are required to support QV?
strategy is a good one, with real promise. With testing, Taco Bell can figure
out exactly how to turn that promise into results.
Discussion Questions: What are the strengths and weaknesses of Taco Bell’s
value segmentation? How
applicable is such a model to other retail channels and products?
- Taco Bell – What Does Value Mean? – Applied Predictive Technologies
- Taco Bell Serves Up All-New Cantina Tacos – Taco Bell
- Q&A: Taco Bell’s David Ovens – Adweek
- Taco Bell’s Cantina Tacos: Better Than The Original? – Serious Eats