Tacobell’s new coin game is a terrible Nostalgia-Grab

Taco Bell has done away with its iconic countertop coin game which was Taco Bell’s unique way to get people to donate for a good cause. Since July 2023, Taco Bell has revived the coin game in a virtual format.

The original rewards were as follows from the above image, Inserting a nickel would net you a cinnamon twist. A dime would reward you with a taco. And a quarter would reward you with a bean burrito. Thankfully the new mobile version sticks with the coin games tradition and opts to use the same rewards. The difference with the mobile version is it allows users to choose which of the 3 rewards they want. The new mobile structure only allows participants one play coin for people who round up purchases to the nearest dollar.

Limiting coins to one play per purchase was probably for the best as sites like YouTube began to popularize tricks, making it super easy to set up and win cheap rewards. Again the main focus was to benefit local charities. The mobile version is boring as the tangible element of manipulating your coin is virtually gone. The new game does allow for practicing your balance, but in my test runs it’s rather finicky and favors a randomized element to prevent mastering the game for “free food”. Store owners had various ways of designing their games. Some would pour water into the Acrylic container, which made the game much easier to win. coins would have a zero-gravity like feel, and because Taco Bell had no official rule set, some participants would tip the container sideways for their methods of winning rewards.

Why was it originally removed?

In 2017, Taco Bell aimed to modernize its interior aesthetic, acknowledging its somewhat outdated appearance. As part of this effort, numerous Taco Bell outlets underwent renovations, bidding farewell to the old 90s font and colors along with the removal of the coin game. -alt101.7

From 2003 to 2016, Coin Drop brought in over $41 million in donations, funding Live Más Scholarships and Community Grants to provide students with the tools needed to further their education and ignite positive change in their communities. In 2019, the Taco Bell Foundation introduced Round Up – a point-of-sale fundraising program that allows customers the opportunity to donate to the Taco Bell Foundation all year long by “rounding up” their total to the nearest dollar. Since the start of 2023, the Taco Bell Foundation has already raised over $20 million in Round Up donations alone and has its sights set on raising $40 million this year with the help of Coin Drop.

“At the Taco Bell Foundation, our mission is to break down barriers to educate and inspire the next generation of leaders, but it’s important to us that we have fun while doing it – and that’s what Coin Drop is all about,” said Jennifer Bradbury, Executive Director of the Taco Bell Foundation. “Coin Drop is truly a win-win for everyone involved, customers can win fun prizes while knowing they are giving back to a great cause.” –Tacobell.com

I am confused as to why this new coin-drop program is limited to specific time windows. The new game offered by Taco Bell is a fair and non-exploitable version of the original game. Its supposed impact on charities makes it strange if they occasionally open the mobile game to help collect funds for the Taco Bell Foundation. Hopefully, they fully impliment the mobile game as a permanent feature. My generous guess is that the limited windows are to stress test the feature.

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