Taco Bell crowd-source their soundtrack

Generating a lot of buzz when they decided to return to our shores last year, Taco Bell is one of the largest and most beloved quick service restaurant chains in the United States. It’s now in more than 20 countries worldwide and the brand’s latest foray into the Australian scene has been hotly anticipated by fans.

Taco Bell’s Australian franchise partner Collins Foods Limited was very interested in creating a fun and engaging atmosphere in the restaurant, and the crowdDJ® platform (along with the Nightlife system) was a great fit for the brand.

Taco Bell has been doing a roaring summer trade from the restaurant in Annerley, a suburb of inner-city Brisbane.

Taco Bell used social media and exclusive prizes to hype their highly anticipated, flavour-packed opening day. In homage to Taco Bell’s first restaurant opening in California in 1962, the first 62 taco-lovers through the door received an exclusive Taco Bell Australia tee to mark the milestone event; just over 50 of the most passionate fans camped out overnight for the privileged spots.

The first 1,000 people to order won an instant prize and one lucky fan won free Taco Bell for an entire year. As well as both of these initiatives, all who walked through the doors on opening day were rewarded with exclusive #tacobelldownunder merchandise which included taco tees, sunglasses, taco hats, tattoos, tote bags and more.

Tamika Nelsen (Emerging Brands, Marketing Manager) realised music was going to be the key to maintaining good vibes, wanting to make sure they had some awesome tunes to keep their fans happy and entertained.

Taco Bell used our crowdDJ product as the entertainment platform, providing queuing customers with great tunes as well as the opportunity to pick songs during their wait, and add their vote to the most popular songs. This was all managed by a DJ who double checked that the playlist included appropriate songs for the occasion and the audience, while checking in on the votes and moving songs up or down depending on their popularity.

Everything went off without a hitch and the queue was in a great mood, dancing and singing along to crowd favourites and guilty pleasures alike. ‘Nutbush City Limits’ by Tina Turner had people dancing on the footpath and Darude’s ‘Sandstorm’ received a massive cheer when it was played after more than 25 votes.

Nelsen mentioned that “Nightlife’s crowdDJ music platform as well as the DJ presence elevated the Taco Bell launch and overall restaurant experience”.

Super-fan and first through the doors was Ashley Russell, who travelled from NSW to QLD specifically for the opening and waited in line for just over 12 hours (this included camping out overnight). The team heard she had made a lifetime commitment to Taco Bell, and it was confirmed on the day that Ashley did indeed have a Taco Bell logo tattooed on her forearm! Her devotion and effort paid off, as Taco Bell arranged a golden stretch limousine to take her back to the airport in luxury for her return flight to Sydney.

Nelsen was incredibly happy with the opening day and support they’ve received from the community.

“The response to the Annerley restaurant has exceeded expectations. Brisbane or should I say Australia (with interstate fans making the journey) has definitely embraced Taco Bell.”

Taco Bell is a perfect example of the impact crowd-sourced music can make in a quick service restaurant setting.

A music brief for a venue can sometimes be a bit of a moving target, especially with a new brand using a new service in a new environment. Tackling this head on, the Taco Bell team initially installed a system in their head office to really get a feel for the service and gauge the music and content for different periods throughout the day. They have been working closely with the Nightlife team to ensure that the brief is on point and continues to serve the restaurant in the best capacity.

Nelsen comments that the experience with Nightlife has been outstanding and that they are very satisfied with the outcome. “Together we’ve been able to create a great restaurant experience at Taco Bell for customers and our staff alike. The entire team from Nightlife were such a pleasure to work with, no task was ever too big or too small.”

Before and after trade periods, staff stay motivated while listening to upbeat tracks and completing their opening and closing tasks. In fact, employees have really embraced the system and love choosing their own tunes – some custom playlists specifically for the team have been created based off their weird and wonderful music choices.

On the customer side of the experience, patrons can use the in-restaurant crowdDJ Kiosk or free crowdDJ app to pick songs while they dine and catch up with friends. Proving extremely popular, Taco Bell visitors are some of the most active crowdDJs in the country, choosing over 3000 songs last month alone.