They say there's no such thing as a free lunch, but that may not necessarily be true at Taco Bell. An away team finally won a game in the NBA Finals, and with that Yum! Brands' (NYSE:YUM) Taco Bell will be giving away a ton of Doritos Locos Tacos from 2 p.m. through 6 p.m. on June 21.
It took four games for Taco Bell's "Steal a Game, Steal a Taco" promotion to pay off. There were two layers to the chain's stunt. If the home team lost any of the first three games of NBA Finals, Yum! Brands would give every customer a free Doritos Locos Tacos between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on June 15. If any away team would win any of the remaining games, it would trigger the same prize six days later.
The home team prevailed through the first three games, so bring money if you want to be fed at Taco Bell come Wednesday afternoon. The Golden State Warriors beat the hosting Cleveland Cavaliers last night in the fourth game of the NBA Finals, and that means freebies come the following Tuesday's afternoon.
The Warriors won the first game on Thursday night, and after winning 39 of its 41 home games during the regular season, it's hard to bet against them in tonight's contest. The series will then move to Cleveland, where LeBron James and the Cavs were an impressive 33-8 at home. It's still more than likely that an away team will manage to squeeze out a victory during the series -- and Taco Bell is counting on that.
Get rich by giving stuff away
It was just a matter of time before an away team emerged victorious. The odds are clearly in favor of the home team. Golden State went 39-2 at home, with Cleveland going 33-8 on its home court. However, that really isn't sustainable over a seven-game series with presumably the two best teams in the sport.
This is still a brilliant promotion. Some folks may just come in when traffic is light -- between the lunch and dinner crowds -- for the free Doritos-dusted taco, but many will make it part of a larger order. There should be at least a healthy uptick in high-margin beverage sales as a result of the giveaway.
Giveaways have become common in the Mexican quick-service arena. Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG) has been discounting aggressively since its food safety came into question late last year. However, Chipotle hasn't turned to games for its giveaways. Whether it's direct mail to its customers or app-based giveaways -- or BOGO offers for teachers and, earlier this month, nurses -- Chipotle hasn't been afraid to give food away to reverse its negative comps.
Taco Bell isn't in a similarly desperate state. Its comps remain positive, and the product it's giving away has sold more than a million units. Yum! Brands is just trying to keep its momentum going, and the goal here is for stores to remain busy before and after the afternoon of June 21.