Today, Taco Bell opened the doors to its new, digitally-driven, two-story restaurant concept, Taco Bell Defy, in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. Taco Bell first told us about Taco Bell Defy in August 2021. The venue will use technology to accelerate service, with the “bold goal of providing customers of this concept with a drive-thru experience of 2 minutes or less,” said Mike Grams, president of Taco Bell.
The main purpose of the new restaurant’s design is to be more mobile for third-party orders and delivery. It delivers orders from the elevated kitchen via a vertical lift / “food tube”, seen in the video below, which brings meals to ground level – think a drive-thru bench, but you get a Chalupa and Baja Blast instead of cash. According to Taco Bell and franchise owner Border Foodthe Defy location has “many features that could appear in future Taco Bell restaurants in the US,” and they are considering retrofits for neighboring restaurants.
Taco Bell Defy does have an option to order through the usual drive-thru speaker or in-store kiosk for customers who spontaneously crave a Gordita Crunch or prefer to talk to a human, but that’s not the focus here.
Of the four drive-thru lanes, one is exclusively a traditional drive-thru. That leaves the other three to prioritize people ordering the app so they can check in, “skip the line,” scan a QR code, pick up their food and be on their way, or for the remote delivery drivers. who work for services such as Door Dash, GrubHub or Uber Eats.
Taco Bell is the next fast food chain on the list of restaurants that are prioritizing a digital ordering format. In December, Chipotle opened its first “digital kitchen” in Ohio, dedicated to handling online orders and orders that come in through the walk-through window, although, for business leaders, the idea of adding Chipotlane drive-thru windows in the first place was “controversial.As food delivery apps became widely used during the pandemic, haunted kitchens made strides at bigger brands as restaurants moved towards minimal contact food delivery to customers.