Taco Bell opened its first digital-only restaurant in the U.S. this week in New York’s Times Square. The restaurant’s 10 kiosks replace traditional analog menu boards.
A separate double-door entrance allows customers to skip the traditional restaurant experience entirely and head directly to the pickup area. Guests can quickly enter their order number on the touchscreen and grab their meal from a designated, glowing cubby
Restaurant observers said Taco Bell’s decision to open a digital-only venue in the U.S. follows the success of its Cantina format, which was meant to expand its urban footprint. The Times Square store snaps into the compact Cantina footprint.
The Mexican themed fast-food joint will still have human being stationed at a counter rto take orders and accept payments.
The simplified digital design is expected to keep Taco Bell employees from becoming overwhelmed.
The new concept is opening up as the nation’s restaurants are grappling with an abnormally tight labor market as the economy heats up.
Starbucks and Chipotle Mexican Grill are among the other restaurant chains that have opened digital-only locations as their online sales soar.
Taco Bell is part of Yum Brands Inc., which owns or franchises over 50,000 restaurants in more than 150 countries and territories. Yum’s properties also include KFC and Pizza Hut.