One of its most innovative Taco Bell restaurant designs yet, Taco Bell Defy is set to break ground in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, later this month. With plans to open its doors to the public by summer 2022, the 3,000 square-foot, two-story model features first-of-its-kind Vertical Works Inc.-licensed design and technology, and represents a true franchisee-franchisor relationship at its finest. The best part? The revolutionary pickup experience at the Defy restaurant is expected to be the fastest way ever to get Taco Bell – from cruising into any of its four lanes, to checking in, to grabbing your Taco Bell favorites – it’s the frictionless future of Taco Bell.
The Defy concept was developed in partnership with Minneapolis-based Vertical Works Inc., a design company that merges manufacturing and construction to concept and build industry-leading solutions for quick-serve restaurants, retail, healthcare and beyond. Vertical Works Inc. is powered by WORKSHOP, PD Instore and Engelsma Construction. In 2020, Border Foods, one of the largest, privately held Taco Bell franchisees in America, enlisted Vertical Works Inc. to help them create an industry-provoking restaurant with a leading design. With an existing 35-year partnership, Taco Bell and Border Foods will partner on its 230th restaurant and 82nd new restaurant build. But this time, on a concept that will defy norms and define the future: Taco Bell Defy.
The innovative restaurant reimagines the traditional drive-thru experience with four lanes, three of which are dedicated to mobile or delivery order pickups, providing fast, skip-the-line service for customers who order via the Taco Bell app and third-party delivery services. These three lanes will supplement one traditional lane, easing the flow of traffic and ensuring a speedy experience. All of this will help Taco Bell Defy’s footprint, which is smaller or equal to existing store footprints, serve even more customers.
The Defy concept takes Taco Bell’s digital infrastructure to new heights, too. Digital check-in screens allow mobile order customers to scan in their order via a unique QR code, then pull forward for a pickup experience that defies gravity: food is delivered seamlessly and in a contactless manner via a proprietary lift system, while two-way audio and video technology lets customers interact directly with the team members above in real time. The elevated kitchen design will optimize and streamline operations for the benefit of both Taco Bell team members and customers.
Taco Bell Defy is currently scheduled to break ground in August 2021 and open its doors to the public by summer 2022.