Taco Bell’s New Times Square Store Has Digital Focus, Dedicated Pickup Area

Taco Bell Cantina

Continuing its New York City expansion, Taco Bell is opening a new location in Times Square that will feature digital ordering and a separate area for picking up food. For those who plan to eat in, as the pandemic eases, the menu also has alcoholic drinks.

The quick-service restaurant (QSR) chain announced in a Tuesday (April 13) press release that the new “cantina” is set to open Wednesday (April 14). The company opened three cantina stores in Manhattan in 2018 and has more than 30 of them. Many serve alcohol and have a modern look.

“Built with the energy and on-the-go vibrance of the city in mind, the newest restaurant embraces technology in a whole new way to serve the demands of New Yorkers,” according to the release.

The store will feature “digital-only ordering” from 10 menu stations that “replace traditional analog menu boards,” along with “order ahead pickup cubbies” that are accessible without going into the main restaurant. Customers enter their order number on a touch screen “and grab their meal from a designated, glowing cubby,” the release says.

In addition, Taco Bell will offer a new menu item exclusive to the Times Square store called the “Bell Apple Freeze,” which the chain said honors the iconic location. The new cantina also has kiosks that sell Taco Bell-branded souvenirs, such as key chains.

The release said the company’s overall goal is “to operate 10,000 restaurants and become a $20 billion brand within this decade.” In addition, the brand plans to build 25 new restaurants in the New York City area this year.

Taco Bell’s post-pandemic plans could be seen as following a strategy of “dine-ins, drive-thrus and digital.”

“[There] are two critical elements that will work together harmoniously across our Taco Bell brand,” Mike Grams, the chain’s president and global chief operating officer, told PYMNTS in a recent conversation. “It’s the idea of merging technology and mobile convenience with the human connection we all crave — especially when many of our fans are digitally native to begin with.”