Taco Bell announced it is set to open its first digital-only U.S. restaurant in Time Square, New York. Yum! Brands (NYSE: YUM), the restaurant’s parent company, revealed the new store will be located inside the historic Paramount Building, built between 1926-1927.
Customers will be required to place digital orders before reaching the establishment or use one of the self-order kiosks located inside the restaurant. The kiosks will also allow customers to purchase Taco Bell souvenirs.
The time square restaurant will sell alcoholic drinks as the company strives to create a Cantina-themed atmosphere. Once open Taco Bell will have a total of 80 locations within New York’s five boroughs (60 Taco Bell restaurants and 20 Cantina-style stores).
The simplified model is anticipated to reduce stress on Yum Brands employees as time square is typically a busy tourist attraction.
Similarly, other big name chains like Starbucks and Chipotle Mexican Grill, have also opened digital-only restaurants amid the pandemic. The new designs are built to reduce square footage and eliminate long lines during busy periods.
Taco Bell made the decision to open a digital restaurant in the U.S. amid its success with the Cantina format. Cantina locations are smaller but more modern and upscale with an alcohol menu.