Can Taco Bell Change a Key Part of the Fast Food Menu?

Taco Bell pushes the envelope with an all-new kind of restaurant.

Anyone who’s ever worked in the food industry knows that the hardest part of the job is the customers, who occasionally can be anywhere from brusque to downright mean.

As the fast-food industry leans heavily on rewarding customers who prioritize mobile ordering, it takes some of the pressure out of that equation. Rather than risking mishearing an order or messing up a customization request, mobile orders record it all in digital form.

Customers have shown they like the method as well, as app use is rising and people respond well to reward programs that give them perks like free food and upsized drinks.

Fast-food brands are all watching how these changes progress, but Yum Brands’  (YUM) – Get Yum! Brands Inc. Report Taco Bell is the first to push the concept into a new form.

That would be Taco Bell Defy, the first fast-food restaurant of its kind, which opens its doors in Brooklyn Park, Minn., on June 7, 2022.

Taco Bell

What is Taco Bell Defy?

Taco Bell Defy is a massive two-story building that unlike the typical Taco Bell does not offer inside dining. 

There is a small walk-in area with several kiosks for ordering, and an employee is available to speak to there, although it’s notable that the staffer is behind a glass wall and can interact only through a speaker.

The restaurant has four drive-through lanes, with one you can order from old-school style through a video screen and the other three dedicated to pickup orders that were placed via app. 

Customers planning to pick up at the Defy location place their orders on the app and receive unique QR codes. They scan the QR codes at the Taco Bell Defy drive-through.

If you used bank drive-throughs in the ’80s and ’90s, you likely remember that you’d put your checks and cash into a tube, which was then whisked away through a vacuum tube and into the hands of your teller.

Taco Bell Defy’s system is just like this. You tap a screen to alert staff that you’re ready to pick up an app order, and it descends from heaven above — the Taco Bell kitchen, that is — via a larger version of that very same tube.

The focus, according to Taco Bell President and COO Mike Grams, is making the drive-through experience as expeditious as possible.

“Taco Bell Defy is an incredible innovation for our brand, and one that’s meeting our consumer in a really unique way,” Grams said in a news release. 

“For decades we’ve been committed to providing a fast, safe and friendly drive-through experience; now with our bold goal of creating a two-minute or less drive-thru experience for customers of this concept, Taco Bell Defy is the future.” 

What Do People Think of Taco Bell Defy?

Naturally, vloggers were quick to head to the new location to check it out, excited to see what the new location had to offer.

But on social media, some people were less excited about the shiny new Taco Bell. Some disliked the appearance of the new concept, while others believed that “robots (were) doing the work of the replaced staff.”

But Taco Bell says that there’s staff just like any other Taco Bell — it’s just that they’re on the second floor now, instead of face-to-face with customers on the first.

If Defy gets positive results from customers, you just might be seeing this new version of the Bell coming to your area in the next few years.

Related Posts

Union Capital Financial Group Ltd, registered in the British Virgin Islands, does not provide investment services inside the United States. The company only provides consulting, advisory and educational services.