Taco Bell Defy in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota to reimagine drive-thru service

Vertical food drop, digital pick-up screens, video communication with staff to enhance, expedite drive-thru customer experience

Taco Bell will unveil Taco Bell Defy, one of its most innovative restaurant designs, in Brooklyn Park, Minn. June 7. Consisting of a four-lane drive-thru, Taco Bell Defy includes a proprietary vertical lift that sends Taco Bell items directly to awaiting customers.

An expedited drive-thru service

Customers with order-ahead mobile orders can check in via digital screens with their QR codes. Through the Taco Bell app, customers can easily order ahead and receive seamless pick-up service in segregated drive-thru lanes.

Two-way audio and video technology will enhance the pick-up experience for all customers. Moreover, Taco Bell says the four-lane drive-thru will cut service times to two minutes or less. One lane of the store prototype will be reserved for traditional drive-thru (order and pay). In addition, delivery drivers will also receive enhanced pick-up and speedier service.

Mike Grams, Taco Bell president and global chief operating officer, commented, “Taco Bell Defy is an incredible innovation for our brand, and one that’s meeting our consumer in a really unique way. For decades we’ve been committed to providing a fast, safe and friendly drive-thru 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.”

Taco Bell Defy includes a vertical food drop for contactless, speedy order pick-up in the drive-thru.
Defy includes a vertical food drop for contactless, speedy order pick-up in the drive-thru. Photo by Taco Bell.

Technology at its core

Minneapolis-based Vertical Works Inc. tapped its scalable innovation, design and manufacturing to conceptualize and create the meat and bones of Defy. Vertical Works is powered by WORKSHOP and PD Instore.

“We applied our innovative approach to problem solving to create a brand new way for consumers to access fast food,” said Josh Hanson, co-founder of Vertical Works and chief executive of WORKSHOP. “We know today’s consumer expects a convenient and memorable experience, and the Taco Bell Defy concept delivers on both.”

Restaurant design retrofits are under consideration at nearby locations operated by Taco Bell’s franchise partner, Border Foods, which also owns and operates the Brooklyn Park Taco Bell Defy location.


“We were excited to partner with Border Foods and Taco Bell to bring the Taco Bell Defy concept to life,” said Mike Strommen, co-founder of Vertical Works and chief executive of PD Instore. “The Border Foods team was facing challenges with streamlining the journey from order to meal hand-off, and the Vertical Works team presented a solution to not only address this, but also deliver a more impactful customer experience overall. Taco Bell Defy’s unique design combined with innovative technology delivers food to consumers faster and more efficiently.”

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