“Could I get a ride to the airport and a burrito?”
Lyft and Taco Bell are teaming up to offer their customers a more satisfying rideshare experience. From July 27—30, riders are able to activate “Taco Mode” in the Lyft app to ask their driver to swing through the fast food chain’s drive-thru on route to their destination. Riders will receive a free Doritos Locos Taco for using the feature.
Initially, the feature will only be available to riders in Orange County, California, but Lyft hopes to expand the option nationwide by 2018. Taco Mode will only be available to customers from 9 p.m. until 2 a.m.
This is Lyft’s most recent marketing ploy to steer users away from their biggest rival, Uber. The idea is to make the customer’s ride home as innovative and memorable as possible.
“You’re being delivered to the food as opposed to having to get in your own car and drive,” says Marisa Thalberg, Taco Bell’s marketing chief officer. “I kind of think of this like inverse delivery — like we’re delivering you to Taco Bell.”
Some drivers aren’t thrilled about Taco Mode.
While the app sounds quite convenient for customers, some Lyft drivers are not thrilled about this announcement. Lyft drivers are paid per mile, so sitting in a drive-thru line isn’t exactly profitable. Many drivers are also upset that the company announced the promotion without first consulting its contractors.
“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 is pretty bold,” one driver said to Business Insider.
Other drivers have noted the compromised cleanliness that inevitably comes with multiple trips to fast-food restaurants. Since customers are able to rate their drivers’ cars, drivers who participate in Taco Mode might risk lower ratings.
Of course, drivers could simply refuse—and risk a lower rating from an irate (and hungry) passenger.
Still, Lyft will continue rolling out the feature.
Lyft claims to encourage driver feedback, noting that it will take criticism into consideration during the initial test run. The company notes that its drivers will be able to decide, without repercussions, whether or not to participate in Taco Mode.
“Drivers are also not required to participate, but can choose to opt-in if interested … This extraordinary partnership infuses the culinary world into the ride-sharing cultural movement, making a late-night run for tacos more convenient—and fun—than ever.”
With the ever-increasing popularity of ride-share apps, Lyft and its rival, Uber, have fought to gain market share in the new, lucrative industry. Uber has suffered bad press in recent weeks, which caused co-founder Travis Kalanick to step down from his position as the company’s chief executive.
Not that the app’s customers care too much about that—they really just want the tacos.