The future of fast food? Las Vegas Taco Bell lunches for dinner

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – Taco Bell in the Las Vegas Valley could be the blueprint for the fast food restaurants of the future, and it’s all about the drive-thru.

It’s a “grab and go” location that features two drive-through lanes – one for delivery drivers – and no dining room. It’s smaller than most Taco Bell locations, and efficiency is a huge factor in how customers are served.

The Diversified Restaurant Group opened the restaurant about a month ago, and COO, Todd Kelly, said sales have gone up every week since the store debuted. It is located off Interstate 15 in the northern part of the Las Vegas Valley in a neighborhood that mixes industry and housing.

It’s a bit strange to go in and not find tables, but one of the biggest lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic is that the dining room is not an absolute must.

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“As we got out of COVID, we were 100% through a car,” Kelly said. “We only got back about 10% of our customers eating in our dining rooms.” Variety has nearly 300 Taco Bell restaurants, most of them in California and Nevada. Some of its locations are in Kansas City.

“This is new. It’s unique. But I don’t think it’s going to be that long of a kind,” Kelly said. “I’m sure based on what we’ve already seen, we’re going to do more of these because we can put them on a smaller board, and cater for more From customers and take out Taco Bell there as everyone wants. ”

About 83% of Taco Bell’s business comes from drive-by, Kelly said. He said the delivery business has grown to about 15% of the total.

“The dining room is almost outdated at this point,” he said. “We can build the restaurant on a smaller footprint, save costs, and give consumers what they want now with two drive-through lanes. Our delivery partners, we don’t have to wait in line, and our customers in the car don’t have to wait in line behind a large delivery order, so it really helped us. in meeting the needs of so many different consumers.”

Competitors are paying attention, Kelly said. “A lot of people come just to see what it’s about. We have a lot of our competitors come in and look and say, ‘Oh, wow, these guys are the best.’ Perhaps we need to consider doing something similar to this. ”

There is also a patio outside for people to park and eat outside if they wish.

Another innovation that came to Taco Bell recently: the walking windows, of which there are several locations scattered in the same area. The two-story “Cantina” location on the Las Vegas Strip remains very popular, Kelly said, with 30 weddings a month taking place “during a slow month.”