Taco Bell said Wednesday it will add an in-store entertainment network and free Wi-Fi at all of its more than 5,600 U.S. locations by 2015. The content and advertising will reach approximately 48 million customers of Irvine, Calif.-based Taco Bell per month, the chain said in a statement.
Taco Bell will be using the Restaurant Entertainment Network, also used by certain franchisees of Denny’s, Arby’s, Wendy’s, Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s. The restaurant’s television screens will display videos about music, entertainment, sports and other programming, while also running commercials from network advertisers.
Taco Bell’s separate Wi-Fi initiative will take the chain up from just 40 locations that currently offer Wi-Fi, sais Taco Bell spokesman Rob Poetsch.
“Our goal is to create a better in-store experience for our dine-in customers and build brand loyalty as well as drive repeat visits,” Poetsch said. “We want customers to see Taco Bell as the best option for delicious tacos and burritos, amazing value, and a great destination.”
McDonald’s also has run in-restaurant programming on TV screens at the point of sale and in the dining room, debuting the McDonald’s channel in late 2008 at its 184-seat “Viva McDonald’s” location on the Las Vegas Strip and expanding the digital-signage program to 20 locations across the country a year later.
Locations of casual-dining chains Applebee’s, Chili’s and Hooters, as well as at units of Jack in the Box and The Coffee Bean, also run in-store entertainment networks.
Poetsch said an in-restaurant upgrade is meant to augment the dining experience, but the brand has no intention of shifting traffic away from the drive-thru, which represents the majority of its sales.
“About 70 percent of our business is in the drive-thru, and we don’t see that changing,” he said. “Our intention is to add value to our consumers who dine in our 5,600 locations.”
Irvine, Calif.-based Taco Bell is a division of Louisville, Ky.-based Yum! Brands Inc.