Food by VICE

Taco Bell Is Giving Away Millions in Free Food Today After Losing a Bet

You can thank Lorenzo Cain of the Kansas City Royals for today's opportunity to go stuff your maw with a Crunchwrap for free.

by Hilary Pollack
Nov 5 2015, 4:45pm

Photo via Flickr user Mike Mozart

If you've ever had the misfortune of listening to an endless, heated conversation about Fantasy Football among a group of its devotees, you're probably already well-aware that people take sports bets pretty seriously, from the biggest (naturally) to the smallest.

In Taco Bell's case, that meant dropping $10 million to give away free food to customers this morning.

Last month, Taco Bell foolishly—or, you know, very intentionally—promised customers that they'd give away free Crunchwraps if any players stole a base during the first or second games of the World Series. After Kansas City Royals player Lorenzo Cain stole second base while facing off against the Mets in the October 27 opening game of the series, Taco Bell was left on the hook.

And while AM Crunchwraps—the breakfast version of the popular, hilariously un-Mexican Crunchwrap Supreme—are relatively cheap at $2.50 a piece for customers, they also cost the chain 68 cents each to produce. With the cost of ads and about 6,000 stores participating in the giveaway, Bloomberg estimates that the price tag for their wager could top $10 million.

READ: I Ate Lunch at the Original Taco Bell

On the other hand, it's brought them a whole lot of publicity (beyond this article, of course), including tens of thousands of mentions on Facebook and Twitter. It's also worth noting that they currently have a major promotional deal with Major League Baseball, making the giveaway a win-win aside from the colossal spending factor. And truthfully, $10 million is just a drop in the bucket for Yum! Brands, the mega-corporation that owns Taco Bell, which raked in more than $13 billion in revenue in 2013.

Even with its high cost, the promotion could be an opportunity for Taco Bell to boost its lagging breakfast sales after experimenting with a hell of a lot of weird menu offerings, such as the now-discontinued Waffle Taco. Though they're obviously popular with the late-night crowd (has there ever been a more stoner-targeted campaign than Fourthmeal?), the chain hasn't had as much luck hanging with the early risers. Just 6 percent of Taco Bell's sales come from its breakfast items, compared to 25 percent for McDonald's.

Photo via Flickr user Brent Moore

RIP Waffle Taco. Photo via Flickr user Brent Moore

But whatever. Back to the free food.

If you're on the East Coast, you're unfortunately too late to cash in: the giveaways only last until 11 AM. But if you're on the West Coast, you've got a few more hours to go stuff your maw with a pentagonal bomb of meat, cheese, scrambled eggs, potatoes, and that spicy, creamy goo that comes on pretty much all of their items.

Just place your bets that the drive-thru line won't be too long.