Minnesota has become the home of a new Taco Bell drive-thru innovation known as Taco Bell Defy. The four-lane drive-thru opened this week in Brooklyn Park, the sixth-largest city in the state, and operates as a two-story site with “a proprietary vertical lift,” otherwise known as a food tube.
As customers approach what looks like a cross between an EZ-Pass toll system and a small parking deck, they will be greeted with “digital check-in screens,” where they can scan a QR code associated with their mobile orders to receive their meal from the aforementioned vertical lift system.
The introduction of this new piece of fast-food technology is the culmination of a partnership between Taco Bell and Vertical Works, a Minneapolis-based design company that provides consultancy work to fast-food chains, retail stores, and even hospitals.
Emphasis on speed— The overarching goal of the Taco Bell Defy concept is to expedite the entire drive-thru experience by incentivizing customers to order their meals ahead of time, using the Taco Bell app. For those of you that didn’t even know the app existed, you can still enjoy the analog experience: There is a single lane dedicated to the the standard drive thru process.
“For decades we’ve been committed to providing a fast, safe and friendly drive-thru experience; now with our bold goal of creating a 2 minute or less drive-thru experience for customers of this concept, Taco Bell Defy is the future,” stated Mike Grams, Taco Bell President and Global COO, in a press release announcing the location’s opening.
Taco Bell employees at they Defy drive-thru work on the second floor, so there is an element of separation between customer and associate. A “two-way audio and video technology service,” allows both parties to communicate with each other, which will probably cut down on any erratic customer behavior.
The Brooklyn Park location is the first of its kind and offers features that could eventually hit other Taco Bell chains throughout the country. Will this lead to additional downloads of the brand’s app? Who knows, but that will be instrumental in determining whether or not the Defy concept actually speeds things up.