indoorDIRECT closes deal to roll out to 5,600 Taco Bells

June 29, 2011 by Dave Haynes

IndoorDIRECT has reached a long term deal with Taco Bell Corp. to install the Restaurant Entertainment Network in all 5,600 QSRs in the U.S., creating a Digital OOH network with a monthly reach of 48 million people.

The set-up includes in-store TV and free Wi-Fi – the latter being a mechanism to pull people in from the drive-thru and have them stick around (to order additional food).

“Our consumers come to us for great tasting tacos and burritos, and now we’re enriching their experience with the addition of indoorDIRECT’s Restaurant Entertainment Network,” says David Ovens, Chief Marketing Officer, Taco Bell Corp., in the indoorDIRECT news release. “As the value leader in Quick-Service Restaurants, The Restaurant Entertainment Network will add even greater value to the Taco Bell experience and feature engaging content such as music, lifestyle, entertainment and sports, and also free Wi-Fi to keep our consumers connected with their friends.”

“This agreement grows from the success of indoorDIRECT’s pilot program in more than a dozen Taco Bell restaurants. Being able to help Taco Bell entertain their guests is a unique and sought-after value proposition,” says Michael Winton, President and Co-Founder of indoorDIRECT.

Winton says  guests will be able to interact with the network by downloading music seen on the programming, receive opt-in text messages, get engaged in social media campaigns while tapping the free Wi-Fi.

indoorDIRECT has roughly 1,000 QSRs installed at the moment, including Taco Bell, Wendy’s, Carl’s Jr., Denny’s, Hardee’s, KFC, and Arby’s. The company puts in three Panasonic screens (partnership)  in a typical venue, including a  paid of 42-inch LCDs.

Programming is a pair of shows – theBITE and theBITE Weekend. They are hosted, magazine-style shows that feature short clips on sports, entertainment, music, lifestyle, and kids content. Each show is updated weekly.

With five content zones, this programming layout has an awful lot going on. I’d argue too much. But at least the environment has long dwell times, as opposed to network operators who impose this sort of busy screen on people who aren’t even sitting down. I don’t know why people who drove to a Taco Bell and probably had the radio on as they traveled, and probably looked up as they walked into the restaurant, need to know about the weather. But that’s just me.

It is not clear in the release who is funding the roll-out and whether Taco Bell is a host venue or is participating financially in the venture. The rollout is expected to be complete by 2015.

This grows indoorDirect at least five-fold in size, and while that doesn’t mean 5X in costs, it’s a big roll of the dice for the Dallas-based company. These guys have been at this for a while now and have clearly determined the advertising model works and that big media planners will direct substantial dollars at this environment.

MediaPost reports that current advertisers include Discover Card, Turner Broadcasting, Fox, and Sony Television.

Pretty big deal. Now the tough work really starts to get it out to that many sites and steadily prove the media value.


Leave a comment