If you’ve been online recently, you’ve probably heard about the new Taco Bell restaurant.
Their new “Defy” restaurant is creating the future of fast food by using elevators to deliver food in their new two-story restaurant. Featuring four drive-thru lanes, the new restaurant in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, may completely reinvent how customers obtain fast food.
The Taco Bell Defy restaurant opens on Tuesday, so here’s everything you need to know before you head out to get that Crunchwrap Supreme.
New Taco Bell Defy Restaurant Has Two Stories, Four Drive-Thru Lanes
The residents of Brooklyn Park are no strangers to Taco Bell. In fact, Axios, who did a deep-dive on the new restaurant and the statistics behind why it may work, reported that there are already close to 240 Taco Bell locations in the area.
Given the convenience of ordering on the app and picking it up at the location, three of the four lanes are dedicated to mobile and other delivery orders. The fourth lane serves as a traditional drive-thru.
Mobile customers who ordered ahead of time will be able to scan a QR code they received when placing their order and then pull through to receive their food, which will be delivered from an elevated kitchen via a lift developed by Minneapolis-based Vertical Works Inc.
Axios reported that Taco Bell devised this new research because drive-thru orders have exploded since the COVID-19 pandemic. According to The NPD Group, digital orders grew by 117%, delivery orders grew by 116%, and drive-thru orders have increased by 20% from February 2020 to February 2022.
According to the 2021 QSR magazine Drive-Thru Study, Taco Bell already had the fastest fast-food line with 268 seconds, compared to an industry average of 346 seconds.
According to Bluedot’s The State of What Feeds Us report, many consumers have actually been requesting a designated drive-thru line for mobile orders. Fast-food restaurants like McDonald’s and Chick-fil-A have two drive-thru lanes at many locations, but only one to pick up food, leading to longer wait times.
New Defy Restaurant Reportedly The First Of Its Kind
Longtime Taco Bell franchisee Lee Engler told Axios that the way the food elevators work reminds him of something out of “The Jetsons” or “Star Trek.”
“We believe that it’s the first one of its kind, definitely in the United States and we think maybe throughout the world, in terms of how we’re moving the food from the kitchen down to the customer,” Engler explained.
Taco Bell President Mike Grams added, “There’s just so many ways for this to solve problems in our business today. We’re going all in on this one to get it as big as it can possibly be.”
If Taco Bell Defy truly lives up to customer expectations, Engler said they will open another restaurant somewhere in Minnesota next year.
Engler said, “That will be the true test of what the throughput improvement is and answer some of the questions of the turn away factor.”
Gram added that they will also consider building more Defy restaurants outside of Minnesota if the idea takes off.
Although Taco Bell aficionados may have to wait to get a Defy restaurant near them, many Taco Bell locations allow customers to order ahead through their mobile app.
Ordering through the app can save time and has the advantage of allowing loyalty members to save up points that they can then redeem for exclusive offers and free food.
Sadly, though, fans will have to wait until the fall to see a return of the beloved Mexican Pizza, as the franchise revealed that they ran out of ingredients to make it after the fan-favorite menu item returned last month.