- For the first time, Taco Bell is opening the doors of the Test Kitchen at its Irvine, Calif., headquarters to patrons, according to a news release. The fast food brand is using OpenTable to offer 32 available seats, with reservations going live on Cinco de Mayo and a dinner date set for May 19.
- Those who attend will get a dining experience with Taco Bell's top creators and chefs. The Test Kitchen is where they formulate many of the Yum! brand's signature menu items including the Doritos Locos Taco and the Naked Chicken Chalupa
- Although this effort is a first for Taco Bell, it won't be the last, with the brand planning a series of dining opportunities throughout the year, all handled through OpenTable. Aspiring attendees can follow the hashtag #tacobelltestkitchen on social media for updates.
The Cinco de Mayo campaign is savvy in that it takes a standard brand experience — eating Taco Bell – and lends it an air of exclusivity with the promise of a peek behind the curtains. Taco Bell is building a sort of cottage industry around these types of events, which gussy up product launches and generate big social media hype.
For the release of the Naked Chicken Chalupa earlier this year, the brand opened a secretive speakeasy in New York, putting the quirky menu item top of mind for fast food aficionados. In October, it partnered with Airbnb to turn one of its Canada storefronts into a cozy getaway promoting the Steak Doubledilla.
As many fast food brands struggle to retain a millennial audience, these sort of fun, shareable and exclusive in-person gatherings are gaining traction, and Taco Bell clearly wants fans to follow along for the latest coverage with the #tacobelltestkitchen hashtag.
Third-party partnerships with apps and digital startups like OpenTable is another way more legacy brands are looking to reach younger crowds who don't necessarily do things like book restaurant reservations the old-fashioned way.