IRVINE, CALIF. — Taco Bell customers may soon sip a beer with their burritos at select locations. The fast-food subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc. is branching out with a new concept in urban markets called Taco Bell Cantina. The new design will have open kitchens, digital menu boards with mobile ordering and payment app pickup and a tapas-style menu of shareable appetizers during evening hours.
Built without drive-thrus, the stores are suited to fit in with pedestrian areas in urban environments, where more millennials live and work. The first of the restaurants will open in Chicago on Sept. 22 and will serve beer, wine, sangria and frozen adult beverages. A second location, opening at the end of the month in San Francisco, will serve wine and beer.
Taco Bell is on track to add 2,000 stores by 2022, according to the company. Expansion plans for additional urban markets are being evaluated.
|Brian Niccol, c.e.o. of Taco Bell Corp.|
“These new urban restaurants are a critical part of our growth strategy in markets where people experience our brand differently,” said Brian Niccol, chief executive officer of Taco Bell Corp. “Today’s consumers are living in more urban settings, and our new restaurants cater to their lifestyle in adapting our traditional restaurant concept to fit their modern needs.”
Taco Bell isn’t the only quick-service chain tapping into the evening market. Starbucks recently expanded its evenings program to more restaurants. At more than 70 locations, the coffeehouse offers a selection of wine, craft beer and small plates, such as truffle mac and cheese and bacon-wrapped dates. The roll-out is part of strategic plans to improve food offerings and increase traffic across day parts, said Cliff Burrows, group president, U.S., Americas and Teavana, during the company’s Biennial Investor Day this past December.“It gives us a chance to extend that third place, creating this new occasion, this incremental visit where customers can come, relax, connect with friends or be alone in a safe, comfortable and sophisticated environment,” Mr. Burrows said. “And evenings for us is our offering to customers, helps customers find that casual place to relax over coffee, tea, savory foods and wine.”