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Taco Bell to 'Defy' COVID, puts futuristic spin on new restaurant coming in 2022

·Reporter, Booking Producer
·2 min read
In this article:
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Taco Bell (YUM) is stepping into the future latest restaurant design.

Dubbed "Taco Bell Defy," the food giant is doubling down on trends amplified during the COVID-19 pandemic, namely digital ordering and delivery. The location is expected to debut in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, but won't actually open its doors until the summer of 2022.

According to the company, the new design concept was developed by Minneapolis-based Vertical Works, and includes a drive-thru experience with four lanes. Drive-thru has become a major staple of pandemic-era dining experience that's been embraced by Starbucks (SBUX), Dunkin Donuts, and other food chains.

Three of those lanes will be solely dedicated to mobile or delivery order pickups made on the Taco Bell app, or via third-party deliver services. 

 A customer orders at a Taco Bell digital kiosk inside the first digital-only U.S. cantina location at Times Square in New York City, U.S., April 14, 2021. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
A customer orders at a Taco Bell digital kiosk inside the first digital-only U.S. cantina location at Times Square in New York City, U.S., April 14, 2021. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

The 3,000 square-foot restaurant design is roughly equal to the existing footprints of Taco Bell locations, but is expected to see higher foot traffic. To help with the flow of customers, there will be digital check-in screens for mobile order customers to scan in their order with a unique QR code, another staple of the COVID-19, touchless era.

The food order chain will be routed through a sophisticated system that includes two-way audio and video technology to chat with the employee in a contactless manner. In addition, the kitchen itself will be completely elevated in order to "optimize and streamline operations" for the benefit of the both the employees and customers, according to the company.

To bring this concept to life, Taco Bell will also lean on its 35-year partnership with Border Foods, one of the largest, privately held Taco Bell franchisees in America. 

Citing the 2015 innovation of Taco Bell Cantina, which is popular in certain urban markets, the company hinted that the Brooklyn Park concept could soon make its way to other markets.

"Partnering with our franchisees to test new concepts is a huge unlock of learning for us," said Mike Grams, Taco Bell’s President and Global COO in the release. "What we learn from the test of this new Defy concept may help shape future Taco Bell restaurants.”

Brooke DiPalma is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @BrookeDiPalma or email her at bdipalma@yahoofinance.com.

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