"Disrupt Taco Bell" Hack Helps You Get the Most Food for Your Money

It’s late. You’re hungry. And you’ve only got $7.39 to spend. What do you do? You employ this nifty little "Disrupt Taco Bell" hack to get the most caloric bang for your buck at the drive-thru, that’s what!

The “Disrupt Taco Bell” hack is one of the many wonderful things to have come out of this year’s TechCrunch Disrupt NYC Hackathon. The event, which took over New York's Manhattan Center on Saturday and Sunday, gives hackers and developers the time and the space to work on their own unique projects, with a whole lot of amazing companies like EverNote and DigitalOcean acting as sponsors. Kunal Batra, a Developer Evangelist at Sendgrid, came to the event just to have fun — and ended up making one of its most memorable creations.

The project saw its beginnings during a 3:30 a.m. Taco Bell trip on the day of the hackathon. Batra wasn’t yet sure what he wanted to create during the event, but his fast food craving provided just the inspiration he needed. He gathered pricing and calorie information from Taco Bell's website, then used a python backend (which might mean something to all you web engineers out there?) to compile it together into the menu. And voila! An instant tool to help you maximize the amount of food you can get for the funds you have available.

Yes, Karen. Yes, I do.

It’s stupidly easy to use, too. Just send an email to tacobell@sendmail.io with the amount of money you have to spend in the subject line (make sure you don’t use any dollar signs). After a short waiting period, you’ll get an email back telling you the name, cost, and calories of the items you can get in order to maximize your order. Kotaku got their answer back “within moments,” but Business Insider noted that it took four hours for them to get theirs. I’m pretty sure that the Kotaku experience is what the hack is aiming for; given how quickly this story is going viral, I would imagine that BI’s wait time is a result of the thing getting slammed by people (like yours truly) testing it out. Mine only took six minutes, so hoorah for that! Here’s a screenshot of what I'm getting with my imaginary $7.39:

TechCrunch notes that Disrupt Taco Bell could be useful for a whole variety of purposes beyond its original intention. Adding in more restaurants and dining options and including a way for people to search by calorie count could make the idea go further — and when you start thinking about how you could use it to maximize your grocery shopping or otherwise help with your household budgeting? It has the potential to become one of the most powerful productivity tools around.

In the meantime, though, burritos are a good place to start. Live mas!... or something.

Image: stevendepolo/Flickr