Taco Bell Announces ‘Go Mobile’ Restaurant Concept

The concept will include a mobile-only drive-thru lane, tablet ordering, and smart kitchen technology.

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Need to Know

  • New store design initiative from Taco Bell, called Go Mobile, emphasizes order-ahead options and will include two drive-thru lanes, pickup shelves, tablet ordering, and curbside pickup.
  • Drive-thru usage at Taco Bell spiked by 4.8 million cars during the second quarter of 2020.
  • Go Mobile will also feature smart kitchen technology for Taco Bell staff.
  • Taco Bell plans to open the first Go Mobile store in the first quarter of 2021.

Analysis

As contactless and online ordering continues to trend upwards for quick-service restaurants due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Taco Bell has unveiled a new design concept for its restaurants that directly caters to this shift in its customer base.

Go Mobile, which is what the Yum Brands restaurant chain is calling its new restaurant design concept, includes several new features that are tailored to contactless and order-ahead dining. These include two drive-thru lanes—one of which will be dedicated to pick-up of orders that have been made online through Taco Bell’s mobile app—plus pickup shelves and dedicated parking spots for customers who are collecting their online orders using curbside pickup.

A look at Taco Bell Go Mobile, with one drive-thru reserved for mobile orders.

“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 President and Global COO Mike Grams said in a statement announcing Go Mobile. “The Taco Bell Go Mobile restaurant concept is not only an evolved physical footprint, but a completely synchronized digital experience centered around streamlining guest access points. For the first time, our guests will have the ability to choose the pick-up experience that best fits their needs, all while never leaving the comfort of their cars.”

In addition to the aforementioned, Taco Bell Go Mobile restaurants will be smaller than the chain’s regular locations, at 1,325 square feet, compared to the 2,500 square-foot size of the average Taco Bell restaurant. Go Mobile locations will also offer tablet ordering in drive-thrus, and smart kitchen technology that will help Taco Bell staff prepare orders in the most efficient way.

Taco Bell has seen a surge in drive-thru usage this year: in Q2 of 2020, the chain reported 4.8 million additional cars using drive-thru services compared to the same time last year, owing to the increased emphasis on contact-free dining experiences due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, the Go Mobile concept is designed to attract customers looking to dine at the restaurant chain “in a frictionless way”, and aims to attract more diners towards Taco Bell’s mobile app.

Yum Brands has seen a surge in overall digital activity during the pandemic, with the company’s four brands — Taco Bell, plus Pizza Hut, KFC, and the recently acquired Habit Burger Grill hitting $3.5 billion in digital sales for Q2 of 2020. For its part, Taco Bell added a million users to its digital channel over the quarter, and reduced drive-thru wait times by 18 seconds—two figures that bode well for the Q1 2021 launch of Go Mobile.

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