Yo Quiero Taco Bell

What’s going on with Taco Bell lately?

Gidget, the “Yo Quiero, Taco Bell” chihuahua dies – and they do nothing. Not even a press release.

If you remember years back when the “Yo Quiero Taco Bell” campaign was active, there were little stuffed Gidgets everywhere.

While I understand that lead time to restart that (or do anything requiring 100 containers of stuffed chihuahuas) is likely dependent on Chinese manufacturing turnaround (and hmmm, CPSIA requirements?), think about why you might want to do that.

Meanwhile, TacoBell.com is otherwise up to date, except for the news section – which has nothing less than 9 months old.

But they have come a long way and I got a big reminder of that yesterday. During a lovely 7.5 hour drive back from the state swim meet in Roundup Montana this weekend, we stopped for a quick bite at a Taco Bell in Great Falls.

Not a port in a storm

It was a really old Bell, with the old southwestern colors rather than the brighter colors that new/remodeled Taco Bells sport these days.

How old was it? Here’s a clue: The restaurant had no public bathroom.

As I was sitting there with my youngest son and his friend, I wondered out loud to them what kind of thinking must have drove them to intentionally leave a public bathroom out of their design.

They couldn’t come up with a good reason and neither could I.

Maybe the idea was to get people in and out and give them no excuse to hang around. Maybe it was to cut down on guests who visited their stores solely to use the bathroom and spend no money, but I have to think that is an exception rather than a large number of visitors.

Even so, how many of those people would leave without buying *anything*? Sure, a few.

Still, is it worth the annoyance to your GOOD customers?

Think about it: For travelers with kids – are you even going to *bother* stopping at the Bell if you know they don’t have a bathroom for customers?

Crazy. I’d love to see the logic/numbers that made this seem like a good idea.

Contrast that with Wall Drug in South Dakota. They’ve offered free ice water for years to travelers, just as an excuse to get them to stop and come into their store (which has now grown to become more of a retail complex). Which makes more sense?

Think like a customer

I remind you regularly to measure as many things as possible and use that information to make decisions (ie: there is a time and place for what I politely call “bean counters”).

However, you have to be careful not to measure things that cause you to make anti-customer decisions like “Let’s eliminate public bathrooms from our restaurants”.

When doing things like this, think like a customer – whoever your customer might be.

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