Taco Bell is taking to the Big Apple in a big way. Beginning April 14th, the taco chain is launching a flagship store in Times Square. Once the store opens, fans of the restaurant will instantly notice a few major changes — most notably, the restaurant will take an all-digital approach.
That means there's no in-person ordering with a cashier but rather, visitors can order through one of the 10 digital ordering stations positioned throughout the store. In addition to in-person ordering, the store's digital-first approach also includes "Order Ahead Pickup Cubbies," allowing taco fiends to place an order through the Taco Bell app and pick it up without having to wait in any lines.
Outside of the new digital-forward thinking, the location is also getting its own exclusive treat. Upon opening, visitors at the location will be able to order the Bell Apple Freeze, a combination of green apple and cherry flavors swirled together — a product available only at the Taco Bell Times Square store as supplies last.
The chain is also aware of Times Square's ability to attract tourists. As such, Taco Bell is also adding some additional opportunities for visitors to get souvenirs while out and about in the area. Trinkets like sauce packet keychains, pin sets, and pens with sauce packet designs can also be ordered via the digital kiosks.
The store is housed within Times Square's Paramount Building and is part of Taco Bell's growing Cantina family of stores, which means the location will also include alcoholic beverages for sale to those of age.
At the height of the coronavirus pandemic last year, Taco Bell began taking drastic measures to adhere to the ever-changing social distancing requirements of health officials. This resulted in an increased focus on drive-thru and curbside service, resulting in a slimmer menu.
"We need to make sure right now that we are giving consumers what they want and that they're getting it through the drive-thru. In order to do that, slimming down and streamlining operations really enables a quicker, speedier experience for consumers," Taco Bell product development head Heather told Forbes last summer. "But this is phase one. What this also does is, when the time's right and consumers are ready, it allows us to build out new options and new innovations."