Taco Bell is opening a futuristic restaurant in one of Times Square's oldest buildings. It's filled with food lockers and digital kiosks: take a look inside.
- Taco Bell is opening a restaurant in New York City where you can only order in advance or through a digital kiosk.
- If you order in advance, you collect your Taco Bell order via a food locker.
- The Times Square restaurant, opening Wednesday, falls under Taco Bell’s Cantina brand.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Taco Bell is opening a digital-only restaurant in New York City’s Times Square.
The restaurant, which is set to open Wednesday, only lets you order ahead or on-site at a digital kiosk. If you order ahead, Taco Bell says you will collect your meal from a food locker,
Read more: Taco Bell CEO Mark King explains how ‘restless creativity’ and redesigned store experiences will help the chain nearly double its sales to $20 billion a year
The restaurant has no menu boards, and is full of futuristic bright colors and wall designs that pay tribute to the restaurant’s location.
The restaurant is on the bottom floor of the Paramount Building, which was built between 1926 and 1927, making it one of Time Square’s oldest buildings.
The new location falls under Taco Bell’s Cantina brand. These are typically more up-market sites with an open kitchen, custom menu, and speciality alcoholic drinks.
The restaurant has 10 self-service kiosks for you to order from on-site, which Taco Bells says are reminiscent of the electronic billboards lining Times Square.
More customers have been using digital kiosks to order fast food and pay at stores during the pandemic to minimize unnecessary contact, and now hotel chains, including Marriott, are launching self-service kiosks, too.
Taco Bell’s restaurant also has a block of pickup cubbies where you can collect your food if you order ahead. You need to enter your order number into the touchscreen and the locker will open for you to collect your food.
Food lockers like these have boomed in popularity during the pandemic because they keep your order fresh, meaning you don’t have to wait to be served, and they remove unnecessary contact. Fast-food chains including KFC, Burger King, and Smashburger are bringing food lockers to their restaurants, while two new restaurants are using the lockers to attempt to revive automats.
You can still dine in at the new restaurant.
The restaurant also has an exclusive menu item: The Bell Apple Freeze is a Green Apple Freeze swirled with a sweet cherry-apple flavor, and costs $3.59.
The restaurant also sells Taco Bell merchandise, which you can buy using the digital kiosks. This includes sauce-packet keychains, pin sets, and pens.
You can explore a 3D map of the restaurant here.
Digital orders make up 20% of Taco Bell’s sales, up from around 3% pre-pandemic, which is making the chain rethink its store designs, Insider’s Nancy Luna reported.
As well as its digital-only restaurant in Times Square, Taco Bell is rolling out “Go Mobile” restaurants with smaller dining rooms and two drive-thru lanes: one for drive-thru orders, and one for mobile pickup.
Taco Bell already has more than 200 restaurants in the larger New York metropolitan area, and it plans to open a further 25 in 2021.
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