Taco Bell Ditching The Drive-Thru At More Than 300 New Restaurants

Image courtesy of (Mike Mozart)

Taco Bell plans to open more than 300 new locations around the country by 2022, but those restaurants will be missing something we’re all accustomed to: the drive-thru.

Food & Wine reports that Taco Bell’s new growth strategy will see the fast food chain ditching the drive-thru in order to serve customers booze.

The new locations will be designed in Taco Bell’s new smaller-sized “cantina-style” and located in mostly urban areas, including Detroit, Nashville, and New York.

Like the fast food company’s other cantina-branded restaurants, the new locations will serve booze, such as the chain’s Twisted Freeze slushies, wine, and beer.

Taco Bell executives expect the stores’ centralized locations and booze offerings to be an attraction for new, younger customers, i.e. millennials.

No Driving Here

A lack of drive-thrus isn’t anything new for Taco Bell, as the chain’s already-opened cantina-style restaurants don’t have that element — after all, you shouldn’t be serving a taco with a beer to someone driving a car.

Additionally, doing away with drive-thrus in more urban locales make sense in a way, as many people living in these city centers don’t actually drive and real estate can be pricey in these areas.

It’s unclear how the lack of drive-thrus at the new locations will affect Taco Bell’s recent partnership with Lyft. Back in July, the companies launched “taco mode,” which allows Lyft riders to request a stop at the drive-thru while they’re on their way to their next destination.

While the option as only a limited-time offering in July and August, it was expected to expand nationally in 2018.

Another perk of no drive-thru? Fewer stories about customers behaving badly at the window.

For instance, in June 2016, police in Milwaukee reported that a man, upset that his Taco Bell order didn’t include sour cream, allegedly pulled a gun and shot at the drive-thru window.

A few months earlier, in March 2016, a Taco Bell customer thought it would be hilarious to assault a female Taco Bell employee by purchasing food and then dousing her with a sugary beverage before laughing and speeding off into the night. The only problem? The drive-thru had cameras, which captured the man.

But drive-thru incidents are not solely committed by those in cars. In 2011, a man was arrested after he drunkenly called 9-1-1 to complain that Taco Bell refused to serve him tacos when he walked through the drive-thru.

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