Fancy New Taco Bells Hope To Go Upscale With Eatery’s Image

Is this the new face of Taco Bell?

While Taco Bell might have had a huge hit by appealing to its basest (and yummiest) instincts with the Doritos Locos Tacos, the chain is simultaneously thinking about distancing itself from the cheap stucco faux mission-style buildings with which it is associated.

There are three new prototype Taco Bells recently opened or in the planning stage. The Bell’s director of concept development says this is all part of an effort to show that the company is trying to “be a better Taco Bell.”

The prototype in Commerce City, CO, (shown in the image above) opened in mid-September.

“We wanted a look that’s totally different, to show that we’re an upscale brand,” said the executive VP of big-time Taco Bell franchisee Alvarado Companies. “You walk in and it feels new and fresh.”

Like other next-gen fast food prototypes, these test Taco Bells feature a variety of seating options, from standard tables to bar-style counter seats to more plush, lounge-like chairs, to “Bell booths” — round booths that seat up to seven customers.

There are also electrical outlets available for customers who want to plug in their laptop and use the free WiFi found at some Taco Bells, or just charge their phone.

“Consumers told us they wanted an environment where they could sit and stay a while,” said the concept development dude tells National Restaurant News.

For franchisees, the exterior of the building is designed so that it can be easily upgraded or changed, meaning that Taco Bell can change its logos and other branding more easily, with less of a hassle to franchise owners.

The company will be showing off the Commerce City prototype to franchisees later this week at its annual franchisee convention in nearby Colorado Springs.

In addition to the 2,100 sq-ft prototype in Commerce City, there is a larger one planned for Redwood City, CA, and a smaller-format one going up in Sanger, TX.

Taco Bell tests new look [NRN.com]