Taco Bell launches the Defy concept: how the fast food brand is innovating with drive-thru experiences

Fast-food giant Taco Bell is launching its “Taco Bell Defy” restaurant on Tuesday, June 7. This is what sets this new restaurant apart.

What happened: First announced last year, the new Taco Bell location in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota opens June 7 and is the first “Taco Bell Defy” location. The restaurant features a two-story model and some of the most advanced technologies and designs from the catering company owned by Yum! Brands YUM.

“Taco Bell Defy is an incredible innovation for our brand, and one that meets our consumers in a truly unique way. For decades, we have been committed to providing a fast, safe and friendly drive-thru experience; now with our bold goal of creating a drive-thru experience of two minutes or less for customers of this concept,” President of Taco Bell Mike Grams said.

In partnership with franchisee Border Foods, the new site offers digital check-in screens for mobile orders via QR codes, audio and video technology for the second floor of the drive-thru and other additional features. An exclusive vertical lift is also featured for the drive-thru lanes.

Taco Bell customers who order with the Taco Bell app can skip the drive-thru line. Third-party brand delivery drivers will also see improved ordering time and a way to differentiate themselves from other drive-thru customers.

Related Link: Taco Bell Celebrates 100th Restaurant in Spain, Exceeding International Expansion Goals

Why it matters: Taco Bell said items from the new location could be added to other locations and will play a key role in the growth of the new business unit.

“As the brand celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, Taco Bell Defy symbolizes a significant evolution in drive-thru, with a leap in digital to meet consumers’ need for speed,” according to the company.

Taco Bell has launched several initiatives over the years to expand its stores and improve customer relations. The new Defy concept has the ultimate goal of reducing drive-thru service times to less than 2 minutes. The company said it now has an average of less than 4 minutes for its drive-thru and the national average is around 6 minutes.

As the fast food industry sees its market share increase for drive-thru and third-party delivery and less reliance on restaurant sales, Taco Bell could stand out with new concepts like Taco Bell Defy.

Taco Bell posted first-quarter revenue of $7.8 billion, up 5% year-over-year. The brand’s same-store sales increased 8%, with same-store sales growth of 7% in the United States and growth of 37% internationally. Sixty-three new Taco Bell locations opened in the first quarter, continuing the company’s unit growth.

YUM Price Action: Shares of Yum Brands were trading up 0.78% at $119.52 on Monday from a 52-week range of $108.54 to $139.85.

Photo courtesy of Taco Bell.

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