I tried Taco Bell’s new two-lane drive-thru, and I think it’s the future of fast food

The front of the restaurant.

Taco Bell is building restaurants with double drive-thru lanes focused on mobile orders.
I tested out one of the new concepts in Rochester, New York.
As mobile orders become more important to fast food chains, this is what the future will look like.

Taco Bell announced its new Go Mobile restaurants in 2020, which would have smaller footprints than typical locations and focus on mobile orders.A Taco Bell in Oklahoma has been converted into a Go Mobile format.

Source: Insider

I visited a location in a suburb of Rochester, New York within a week of its grand opening.Taco Bell sign lit up at night.

Everything about the location was designed to be quick and convenient, bucking recent trends in fast food towards slower service.Parking spots.

Source: Insider

Parking spots near the entrance were marked for customers to pick up mobile orders inside.Parking spots for mobile orders.

Customers can go inside and pickup orders off a shelf, similar to the model at Chipotle and other fast casual chains.Parking for mobile orders.

Other spots were reserved for delivery drivers, something many fast food and even casual dining chains have implemented.Parking for delivery drivers.

Remaining parking spots were used to advertise Taco Bell’s app, and try to recruit some new hires.Parking spots for mobile orders.

The most distinctive feature of the new Mobile Go format is the double drive-thru, with one traditional line, and one line dedicated just to mobile orders.The mobile lane of the drive-thru.

More customers used the traditional drive-thru lane during my visit, but both lines had steady traffic.Two drive-thru lanes.

To test out the new restaurant, I made sure to make a mobile order to get the full experience.Select a location.

When ordering in the app, you choose how you want to pick up your food. I went with the drive-thru.The app asks how you’d like to pick up your order.

With signs and markings on the pavement, it’s super clear which lane you’re supposed to go to, based on whether you’ve ordered ahead or not.One side of the drive-thru is designated for mobile orders.

The design seems very efficient, with mobile orders going directly to a window to pickup their food after giving the order name at the speaker.Drive-thru.

Customers using the standard drive-thru lane still have access to a standard menu board, and then continue on to a separate window where they pay and get their order.The new drive-thru.

Just based on my own frequent Taco Bell trips, lines seemed to move much fast here than at my regular location.Drive-thru windows.

A standard Taco Bell already has two assembly lines, one for drive-thru orders and one for walk-ins. Adding in the mobile focus seemed to keep things moving even more efficiently.Parking spots at the entrance.

Inside, each table had an advertisement for Taco Bell’s app.Taco Bell interior.

Though the parking lot was busy, no one seemed to be eating inside, showing that the smaller footprint restaurants might be a smart idea.Grand opening.

There was also a display table inside looking for new hires, unsurprising in the labor shortage-plagued fast food world.The restaurant is hiring.

There were no bellhops, which were initially announced as part of the plan by Taco Bell last year, though that could be a product of the labor shortage.Signs and banners for the grand opening.

Source: Insider

Otherwise, though, the restaurant matched up with the mockups Taco Bell released when it announced the Go Mobile locations.

“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,” Taco Bell’s vice president and global chief operating officer Mike Grams said at the time of the announcement.Taco Bell’s logo.

Source: Insider

It’s been over a year since these Go Mobile restaurants were announced, and drive-thrus have only become more important to Taco Bell and fast food in general.The two-lane drive-thru.

The chain already has plans for a first of its one-of-a-kind, four-lane drive-thru in Minnesota for summer 2022.Taco Bell’s new concept at Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.

Source: Insider

Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at mmeisenzahl@businessinsider.com.

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