As order-ahead becomes increasingly popular, Taco Bell readies new format
Taco Bell introduced a new design concept, unveiling the Taco Bell Go Mobile restaurant, which adapts the chain to recent consumer trends showing a strong appetite for order-ahead. A new tech-forward store format will feature two drive-thru lanes, one of which is for rapid service, prioritizing customers who have ordered via the Taco Bell app. This new design will debut during the chain’s first quarter of 2021.
Taco Bell Go Mobile stores condense the footprint to 1,325 square feet, compared to the typical 2,500 square-foot location. In addition to the rapid pick-up lane, smart kitchen technology integrates with the Taco Bell app and directs customers who are nearby to their pickup experience.
In this new prototype, “Bellhops,” which are concierge team members, streamline the traditional drive-thru service lane through the use of tablets. They will also assist with the Taco Bell Go Mobile contactless curbside station.
At traditional stores, Taco Bell has also been shaving drive-thru times and upgrading the Taco Bell mobile app loyalty program, currently in beta after being introduced in July. The Irvine, Calif.-based Mexican QSR chain sped up average drive-thru times by 15 seconds. Loyalty app users have access to enhanced customization when ordering.
Limited-service chains, including Starbucks, Dunkin’, and Chipotle, have invested in technology to “digitize” the pickup experience and address the popularity of order-ahead pickup. Starbucks plans to expand its Pickup Stores concept by at least 50 stores this quarter and ramp up curbside stores to 1,000, while Dunkin’ activated 1,400 locations on curbside pickup and already tallies 700 next-gen concept stores. Also, Chipotle’s Chipotlane restaurants, equipped with order-ahead drive-thru lanes, exceed 100.
“The Taco Bell Go Mobile restaurant concept is not only an evolved physical footprint, but a completely synchronized digital experience centered around streamlining guest access points,” said Mike Grams, Taco Bell president and global COO. “For the first time, our guests will have the ability to choose the pick-up experience that best fits their needs, all while never leaving the comfort of their cars.”
Photo credit: Taco Bell (featured preview image, inline)
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