As part of an experiment to determine if suburban diners like its more upscale restaurants as much as those who live in cities, Taco Bell will change three traditional locations into Cantinas in 2020. The quick-service restaurant (QSR) brand opened its inaugural Cantina in 2015 to develop a footprint in cities with more costly real estate and be attractive to diners who were spending money on food from fast-casual restaurants, CNBC reported.
New Cantinas could bring about the opportunity for the restaurant brand to keep growing its diner experience. In one case, a suburban Cantina could show large sports games. And diners will have the ability to play video games at a California Cantina location by the close of Q3. Seating in the Cantinas is designed for diners to stay longer, and the locations serve alcohol.
“While we will always be great for menu innovation, we are trying to apply the same creativity to the dining experience,” Taco Bell President and Global Chief Operating Officer Mike Grams said.
Taco Bell, however, is not entirely taking away its menu focus, as the executive reportedly hinted that a Cantina could have a menu that is all plant-based. The Yum! Brands chain has brought over 30 Cantinas to the United States. And the brand’s busiest location globally is its Las Vegas Cantina. That restaurant also functions as a wedding chapel. The company also intends to bring a Cantina to Times Square by autumn.
As previously reported, Taco Bell is also pursuing solutions to improve the home-delivery and in-restaurant orders of diners. The QSR chain grew its partnership with delivery service provider Grubhub last year and was planning to install self-service kiosks across the 6,600 restaurants in its network.
Taco Bell launched its first self-service kiosk in 2015 and has since worked to offer the technology at additional locations. The kiosks, for their part, showcase 22-inch touchscreen monitors that let diners to quickly place their orders and pay via credit cards, debit cards, mobile wallets and gift cards. If they want to pay with cash, they can also check out with sales associates.