Welcome to the Taco Bell of the future

Taco Bell’s new drive-thru concept uses high-tech dumbwaiters to drop orders down to customers.

Taco Bell just opened its first “Defy,” the fast-food chain’s latest concept, in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.

It’s two stories high with four drive-thru lanes: two are for customers picking up mobile orders, and one is for delivery drivers, per Business Insider. The last is for those traditionalists who don’t want to order ahead.

Here’s how it works:

  • Drivers check in at kiosks with QR codes
  • Or order from staff via video if they didn’t place a mobile order
  • When the food is ready, it’s dropped down to customers via dumbwaiter-style elevators. Hence, the name “Defy” — it’s “gravity-defying.” Okay, Taco Bell.

The food elevators are proprietary, and were developed by consultancy Vertical Works to reduce service time.

Taco Bell is already the fastest — though not the most accurate — US drive-thru with an average time of 286 seconds. Defy promises to deliver orders in two minutes or less.

Taco Bell likes to experiment

In the past, the brand has done a lot for its loyal fans, and we don’t just mean bringing back the Mexican Pizza.

  • In 2019, it opened a temporary resort in Palm Springs, California, called The Bell, replete with Taco Bell-themed manicures.
  • Taco Bell weddings are available at its Cantina in Las Vegas. A 30-minute ceremony includes the use of a sauce packet bouquet.

As for Defy, Taco Bell is already looking to retrofit other locations, per Food & Wine.

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