Taco Bell reinvents drive-thru to speed pick-up
Taco Bell has launched a new restaurant concept designed to encourage mobile orders and keep drive-thru lines short.
Among the updated features of the Go Mobile concept:
- Minimization: The concept will be 1,325 square feet, nearly half the size of the average 2,500 square foot restaurant, with an emphasis on drive-thru.
- Smart-tech kitchen: Updated technology tells cooks the fastest way to make an order.
- Dual drive-thru: In addition to the traditional pick-up lane for on-premise orders, a second lane handles customers who order ahead through Taco Bell’s app, similar to Chipotle’s “Chipotlanes” lane. Mike Grams, Taco Bell president and COO, told Nation’s Restaurant News, “The priority lane is created for the emergence of digital demands — the ability to put the customer experience in their hands [where they can] order before they get to the parking lot.”
- Curbside pick-up: Orders can be received via designated parking spots and indoor shelves.
- Bellhops: Concierge staff, known as “bellhops”, will be available to take orders with tablets for drive-thru and curbside pick-up orders.
- Synchronized digital experience: Technology integrated with Taco Bell’s app will detect when customers arrive and suggest the quickest route for pick-up. Customers choosing the suggested pick-up method will earn more loyalty points. Mr. Grams compared the system to air traffic control at an airport. He told CNBC, “The customer still has control, but we help them.”
Taco Bell will debut its Go Mobile concept in two company-owned locations in the first quarter of 2021 and incorporate some aspects into existing restaurants.
The launch comes as many QSR chains have pared down menu offerings and rolled out curbside pick-up as online ordering has surged amid the pandemic. Starbucks, Shake Shack and Chipotle are likewise revamping drive-thru approaches.
In its second quarter, Taco Bell, owned by Yum! Brands, served an additional 4.8 million cars through drive-thru lanes year-over-year and achieved an 18-second faster drive-thru time year-over-year.
QSR Magazine’s “2019 Drive-Thru Study” found customers spent an average of 255 seconds from speaker to order window, up from 190 seconds in 2003, due to increasingly complex menus as chains seek to differentiate and roll out mobile pick-up.
- Taco Bell Continues to Redefine the QSR Experience and Announces Plans for New Restaurant Concept – Taco Bell/PRNewswire
- Taco Bell to debut ‘Go Mobile’ prototype store with double drive-thru lanes, curbside – Nation’s Restaurant News
- Taco Bell unveils new design with more drive-thrus as pandemic permanently shifts how we order – CNBC
- Taco Bell is taking a page from Chipotle’s playbook with its new mobile ordering drive-thrus – Business Insider
- Taco Bell’s New Restaurant Concept Includes 2 Drive-Thru Lanes And On-Site Bellhops – Delish
- The 2019 QSR Drive-Thru Study – QSR Magazine
- Taco Bell Personalizes Its Digital Ordering Experience with Certona – Taco Bell
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What aspects of Taco Bell’s Go Mobile concept appear set to advance the drive-thru experience? What are the biggest pain points around drive-thru?