Taco Bell announced on Tuesday that it will be undoing a major upgrade.
The fast-food chain said that it will be opening an upscale cantina style restaurant in Chicago this week, as reported by Perez Hilton. The new eating joint will not feature the conventional drive-thrus, but will have open design kitchens; in addition to introducing new technological tools like digital menu boards, television monitors, and an application that will allow customers to order and pay for the food using a smartphone.
Speaking about the upgrades in a statement, the company said, “Taco Bell is dropping the drive-thru, opening its kitchens, and using technology to create a new experience as the brand expands into urban markets. Taco Bell brings on the booze as it seeks to appeal to hip, young city dwellers and fend off popular rival Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.”
Seeking to expand their grip in the urban markets, Taco Bell had announced in June that it is planning to start selling beer, wine, sangria and spiked frozen drinks at the new Chicago location. Another outlet is slated to be opened near San Francisco’s AT&T Park, which will only serve beer and wine, later this month.
According to USA Today, some of the inclusions on the drinks menu are the Mountain Dew Baja Blast, Cantina Punch and Cantina Margarita freezes, with the latter that can have 1 ounce of Captain Morgan white rum, Ketel One vodka or Don Julio tequila. The rum and vodka based drinks are priced at $6.19 excluding taxes, and the tequila-laced freeze will be for $7.19.
The new outlets will have “local architecture.” The Chicago restaurant, set in a 100-year-old building with an open kitchen, will feature a mural by a local artist in a “nod to the neighborhood’s history as an artistic hub.”
The graffiti artist commissioned by the company, who goes by the name Revise CMW, expressed his apprehension towards the assignment. “At first, I was a little resistant to agreeing to work for this big corporation, but I knew if I didn’t do it, they’d find some 21-year-old to take the job,” the artist, whose real name is Won Kim, said. “At the end of the month, I got to pay the rent, too.” Kim is also a chef.
The outlet in San Francisco will include a mobile pickup window.
As reported by The Atlantic, Taco Bell’s chief executive, Brian Niccol, said he hopes the restaurants will enable customers to “experience our brand differently.” Taco Bell has in excess of 6,000 outlets. The company, owned by Yum Brands, generates 70 percent of its sales from drive-thru windows. Next year, the fast-food chain plans to open 10 stores selling hard drinks, company spokesman, Rob Poetsch, said.
Starbucks recently announced that it is also pushing to launch its beer and wine program. It has applied for liquor licenses for several of its stores across the United States.
First opened in 1962, Taco Bell now has outlets across 26 countries. Its popularity can be reflected by the fact that it moves more than a whopping two billion tacos a year. Furthermore, its recent collaboration with Doritos augmented business sales, selling a recorded billion tacos. Yum! Brands plans to open 2,000 more outlets in the United States by 2022.
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