The Taco Bell of the future will focus more on pick-up, less on seating.
Fast food chain Taco Bell unveiled a new design for their retail locations that they intend to put into action some time next year. Titled the “Go Mobile” concept, these new Taco Bells will prioritize drive-through and pick-up orders over in-restaurant seating.
In exchange for reduced dining hall seating, the Go Mobile restaurants will feature several accouterments designed to facilitate a faster ordering/pick-up process. These changes include a second drive-through lane, designated specifically for customers who order their food ahead on the Taco Bell smartphone app or on their website. The first lane, in lieu of a traditional drive-through board, will feature “bellhops,” masked employees waiting outside with digital tablets, to take orders. Customers can still drive up to the window to pick up their food, though curbside, contact-less pickup will also be offered. Ordering at the counter in the restaurant will still be available. These are ordering techniques already employed by fast food chains like Chick fil-A.
In a company statement, Taco Bell said that the “evolved restaurant is specifically designed for guests to order ahead through the brand’s mobile app and enjoy the Taco Bell experience in a frictionless way.”
The new design is meant to accommodate changes to customer habits in regards to ordering fast food brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Digital pre-orders and drive-through orders have seen an exponential increase since the pandemic started, with Taco Bell’s own parent company, Yum! Foods, saying that Taco Bell’s drive-through lanes have serviced an additional 5 billion customers compared to the same time last year.
When speaking to CNN Business about how this new design would affect the Taco Bell “Cantina” location planned for Times Square in New York City, a Taco Bell rep said the plans for that location have been put “on pause.” This location was planned to be the very first Taco Bell to serve alcohol along with their typical menu, as well as the first multi-story location.