Updated Jun 9, 2022 - Economy

Touchless Taco Bell could be the future of drive-thrus

Image of a new Taco Bell restaurant design, with 4 drive-thru lanes under the kitchen.

Rendering of a Taco Bell Defy restaurant coming in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. Photo: Taco Bell

Late-night munchies will be a little easier to satisfy for mobile customers at Taco Bell's new touchless drive-thru restaurant coming to Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.

Why it matters: When you're hungry, you want your food NOW.

Flashback: Axios' crack local reporters in Minneapolis-St. Paul already flagged plans for this prototype fast-food joint back in February, pointing out its odd resemblance to a bank branch.

Details: The "Taco Bell Defy" restaurant opened on Tuesday.

  • There are four drive-thru lanes, three of which are dedicated to mobile or delivery orders.
  • The fourth lane is a traditional drive-thru, where you place your order at a kiosk and drive ahead for pickup.
  • Mobile order customers scan a QR code they received when they placed their order, then pull forward to receive their food.
  • Food is delivered from the elevated kitchen above via a proprietary lift system similar to the pneumatic tubes used by those bank branches.
  • The entire pickup process is contactless, although two-way audio and video technology lets customers interact directly with Taco Bell employees in real time.
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