SALT LAKE CITY — Executives of the endurance sports company 80/20 Endurance are scrambling to respond to the announcement that the fast food chain Taco Bell will be offering $10 (USD) monthly subscriptions, according to sources within both organizations. The surprise taco subscription is believed to be a direct response and threat to the booming success of the 80/20 Endurance subscription model.
An anonymous source within Taco Bell shared the reasoning behind what industry analysts are calling a baffling over-reaction by the eatery. “For years, Taco Bell has mysteriously been losing market share,” said the source who was not authorized to comment. “It took nine months of outside consulting, but we now know the primary cause of that decline is the 80/20 Endurance Subscription service. 80/20 Endurance is siphoning revenue right out from under us, and we had no choice but to challenge them directly.”
Taco Bell executives publicly denied the move was designed to challenge the endurance fitness company. “80/20 Insurance? Never heard of ‘em,” said Eric Loomis, Senior Vice-President of Customer Loyalty.
At a hastily organized press conference, 80/20 Endurance co-founder Matt Fitzgerald sought to regain control of the narrative and present his company as the leader in the subscription wars.
“We believe that educated and dedicated athletes will continue to choose the 80/20 Endurance Subscription over our competitors,” said Mr. Fitzgerald. “I mean, when given the choice between a daily grueling 60-minute workout or a delicious taco, how many of you would choose the taco?” When the entire press corps reluctantly raised their hands, Mr. Fitzgerald placed his head on the podium and wept.
At stake is the discretionary income of athletes around the world. The subscription pricing by Taco Bell appears to be deliberately undervalued in an effort to draw 80/20 Endurance customers to a less expensive and more attractive package. The top-tier 80/20 Endurance Gold Subscription is listed at $15 a month, when paid for annually. At $10 per month, Taco Bell has created a tempting and crunchy (or soft) subscription alternative.
Russell Partnership Collection, a UK-based food consultancy practice, questioned both the move by Taco Bell and the need to report this story. “Is this report serious?” said James Mann, Principle Consultant at Russell. “You realize that the two subscriptions are nothing alike, right?”
Mr. Fitzgerald’s fellow 80/20 Endurance co-founder, David Warden, declined substantive comment for this report. When located in proximity to a Taco Bell and wiping his chin with a napkin emblazoned with the restaurant’s logo, Mr. Warden would only state, “Competitive analysis.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story claimed that Mr. Warden is 5 feet 11 inches tall. His actual height appears to be 5 feet 1 inch.
Correction: An earlier correction to this story speculated Mr. Warden’s height to be 5 feet 1 inch. A spokesman for Mr. Warden confirms his height to be 5 feet 8 inches “first thing in the morning, before a run, with shoes and two pairs of socks on.”