Taco Bell recently revealed plans to build several new stores across the country, and fans of the fast-food chain are intrigued by the ideas being thrown around.
Taco Bell says they will be debuting four new types of stores by the end of the year, with the first one opening up in California while they test out a new look and concept. By 2022, Taco Bell hopes to unveil about 2,000 restaurants; 200 of those will reportedly be Cantina-style and will feature open kitchen areas and will possibly offer alcoholic drinks such as wine, beer, and sangria. It seems the company is trying to encourage a community feel with those stores, as they will also reportedly feature shared seating and menus. Artwork done by local artists will adorn the walls.
“Building new restaurants is a key component to the overall growth and evolution of Taco Bell. Great design, Great Food and Great Economics is at the heart of our growth,” said Brian Niccol, Chief Executive Officer at Taco Bell.
The styles will include Heritage, Modern Explorer, California Sol, and Urban Edge and all will have different feels in regards to decor and architecture. California Sol restaurants will embrace the idea of having a meal outdoors, while Heritage will be an updated version of the restaurant’s original “Mission-style” floorplan.
“While all four restaurant designs each have a different contextual personality, they all share a commonality in expressing Taco Bell’s brand like never before. From the open kitchen that showcases our freshly prepared foods to the community tables designed for friends to hang out, each of these formats fosters a modern, unique experience,” said Chief Marketing Officer Marisa Thalberg.
According to the Press Enterprise, existing stores will eventually be able to choose the look they want when it’s time for an upgrade.
Taco Bell began updating their restaurants last year, and Chicago became the first city in the U.S. to host a location that serves alcohol. The company is reportedly eyeing New York, Boston, Atlanta, and Austin for the new stores.
Last year, Conan O’Brien took a co-worker to Taco Bell’s headquarters in Irvine, California, to show him around, and the two of them were able to see what goes on in the test kitchens. There was also quite a bit of clowning around, but we’d expect no less from the talk show host.
One thing the restaurant can likely count on throughout the expansion is keeping their loyal fans. One man loves Taco Bell so much that he woke up from a 48-day coma and immediately asked for it.
Jake Booth, an army vet who suffered a heart attack brought on by the stress from bronchitis and pneumonia, was put into a medically-induced coma by doctors when his condition worsened. When he woke up in early April, his family says, the first words out of his mouth weren’t “Hi” or “I love you.”
“He actually said, out loud, ‘I want Taco Bell,'” Booth’s brother, Jason Schwartz, said.
But it wasn’t that easy; Booth had to take several days to recover from his ordeal, which included having a tracheotomy. After nearly a month, he was finally able to eat what he wanted most in the world.
“We’d all been waiting an entire month for him to eat those tacos. It was symbolic of the entire thing — more of a metaphor of him having woken up and being given a second chance at life,” Schwartz said.
Taco Bell reportedly sent Jake a care package after hearing his story, but his family is currently raising money on GoFundMe to help ease the burden of his medical bills.
[Photo by Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images]