Taco Bell customers are attacking the brand — and executives are thrilled (YUM)

Kate Taylor
Beefy Crunch Movement

Beefy Crunch Movement

If you visit Taco Bell's Facebook page you'll likely find dozens of users posting about the Beefy Crunch Burrito. 

"Favorite couple is me and a #beefycrunchburrito," reads one comment on a recent post promoting a Taco Bell-centric marriage.

"You can't censor us forever," reads another. "Sooner or later you have to acknowledge us... #beefycrunchmovement."

The posts are part of a coordinated effort to convince the chain to make its Beefy Crunch Burrito a permanent menu item. 

Since 2011 when the limited-time offering left Taco Bell's menu for the first time, Richard Axton has been leading the charge.

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https://twitter.com/mims/statuses/824482133972393988
@tacobell do you see us, Taco Bell? #BeefyCrunchMovement pic.twitter.com/SJmxtHcpZ8

Over the last six years, Axton and the Beefy Crunch movement have exploded.

Today, the Beefy Crunch Facebook group has more than 58,000 members, many of whom regularly take to Taco Bell's social media pages to express their displeasure that the Beefy Crunch Burrito isn't available all the time. They've called the movement, "Operation Annoying AF [As F---]."

Last year, Taco Bell even featured Axton in its ads when it brought back the burrito for a limited time. 

taco bell beefy crunch

Taco Bell

Yet, the movement will not be satisfied until the burrito is a permanent menu item. 

"The ability to protest is the cornerstone of this amazing country," reads a post on the Beefy Crunch Facebook page from January. "Just because we do it on social media doesn’t meant any less than whatever YOU want to fight for in real life. Keep on speaking. Your voice is way more important than you think."

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https://twitter.com/mims/statuses/833404014872064000
I just want some @tacobell but they still haven't brought back the #BeefyCrunchBurrito, so what's the point in going? #BeefyCrunchMovement

Executives are hearing the demands — and they're welcoming the protests with open arms.

"We love it, and we love to engage with folks that love our different products," Melissa Lora, Taco Bell's international president, told Business Insider. "You listen, and you respond." 

The brand's CMO, Marisa Thalberg, was similarly positive in discussion of the Beefy Crunch movement when she spoke to Business Insider in January. 

Why are Taco Bell executives so enthused about angry customers? The most obvious reason is that customers' obsession with menu items — even items that have been cut from the menu — encourages loyalty. 

Also, when Taco Bell pulls items off its menu and angry customers take to social media, those posts build hype for the products and essentially provide free advertising for the brand. When Taco Bell brings back something like the Beefy Crunch Burrito, it gets an immediate publicity boost from customers eager to get their hands on the cult classic.

At the same time, Taco Bell is able to add new limited-time offerings without over-crowding its menu. 

Neither Lora nor Thalberg were able to tell Business Insider if or when the Beefy Crunch Burrito would return to the menu. However, bringing the burrito back is in the chains' best interest. Then again, so is taking it away once again, prompting another round of outrage — and free advertising. 

NOW WATCH: We got our hands on Taco Bell's new chalupa with a fried chicken shell and it's surprisingly tasty

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