IRVINE, CALIF. — In an effort to push the boundaries of the quick-service restaurant customer experience, Taco Bell, a subsidiary of Louisville, Ky.-based Yum! Brands Inc., is rolling out a new restaurant concept: Taco Bell Go Mobile.
The new restaurant concept is designed for guests to order ahead through the brand's mobile app and caters to a growing customer base that is shifting toward quicker contactless ordering and pickup options.
Taco Bell said the new Go Mobile restaurants will feature five main updates targeted for digital adoption to improve the customer experience:
• Minimization: Taco Bell Go Mobile locations have a smaller footprint (1,325 square feet) than traditional Taco Bell restaurants (2,500 square feet).
• Dual drive-thru: The new concepts will have two drive-thru lanes, including a new priority pickup lane for customers who order via the Taco Bell app. The new lane will supplement the existing, traditional lane.
• Synchronized digital experience: Powered by smart kitchen technology that's integrated with the Taco Bell app, Taco Bell Go Mobile restaurants will detect when guests have arrived at the restaurant and suggest the quickest route for a seamless pickup experience.
• Curbside pickup: Taco Bell Go Mobile customers will have the option to receive their order via contactless curbside pick-up.
• Bellhops: Taco Bell Go Mobile will include tablet ordering in drive-thrus and curbside pickup, both of which will be operated by a concierge service of team members, known as “bellhops.”
“With demand for our drive-thru at an all-time high, we know adapting to meet our consumers’ rapidly changing needs has never been more important,” said Mike Grams, president and global chief operating officer at Taco Bell. “The Taco Bell Go Mobile restaurant concept is not only an evolved physical footprint, but a completely synchronized digital experience centered around streamlining guest access points. For the first time, our guests will have the ability to choose the pickup experience that best fits their needs, all while never leaving the comfort of their cars.”
The first Taco Bell Go Mobile restaurant is expected to open in the first quarter of fiscal 2021.
The new restaurant concept comes on the heels of several other significant changes at Taco Bell. In mid-July, the company announced it was removing 12 menu items across six categories to “clear out space” on the menu and “create a more efficient experience.”
The Grilled Steak Soft Taco, 7-Layer Burrito, Nachos Supreme, Beefy Fritos Burrito, Spicy Tostado Burrito, Triple Layer Nachos, Spicy Potato Soft Taco, Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes, Cheesy Potato and Beefy Nacho Loaded Grillers, Chips and Dips and Mini Skillet Bowl were to be removed from menus beginning Aug. 13.
Menu-cutting decisions were based largely on the need to increase speed of service as drive-thru becomes a larger portion of business during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the company said.
The downsizing comes after the chain cut nine items last year.
Also in July, Taco Bell unveiled the nationwide launch of its mobile app's new beta loyalty program. According to Taco Bell, the new program gives fans a deeper level of customization in both what they're ordering, and now how they're ordering.