Taco Bell opens first restaurant with high-tech drive-thru experience

Taco Bell opened its first high-tech restaurant location in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, under its new Defy concept, which aims to reduce service times to two minutes or less while providing a fun, easy and seamless drive-thru experience.

Taco Bell Defy aims to reduce service times to two minutes or less while providing a fun, easy and seamless drive-thru experience. (Taco Bell)

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The two-story location, which broke ground last summer, features four drive-thru lanes, digital check-in screens for mobile order customers’ unique QR codes, two-way audio and video technology for customers to talk to Taco Bell employees and a proprietary vertical lift designed by Minneapolis-based Vertical Works Inc. to transport customers’ favorite menu items.

Three of the Defy concept’s lanes will be dedicated to mobile and third-party delivery orders. Meanwhile, the fast food chain’s fourth new lane will be dedicated to customers looking for the traditional drive-thru experience.

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The location will be operated by local franchisee Border Foods, which has more than 230 Taco Bell locations across the Upper Midwest.

“Taco Bell Defy embodies the innovative, entrepreneurial spirit of Minnesota businesses and franchisees,” Border Foods co-founder and CEO Lee Engler said in a statement. “It is a creative, technological solution for a faster, contactless experience for as many Taco Bell fans as possible and is poised to be the future of quick-service dining.”

Taco Bell teased that many features of the Defy concept could show up at its restaurants across the US in the future. The company’s team is currently working with Border Foods to consider potential retrofits that could be made to several of Taco Bell Defy’s neighboring restaurants.

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