Taco Bell of the Future Coming to Brooklyn Park
Rendering of Taco Bell Defy concept in Brooklyn Park. Courtesy of Border Foods

Taco Bell of the Future Coming to Brooklyn Park

Minneapolis companies Border Foods and Vertical Works lead the way in testing a new drive-thru concept focused on speed.

That Cheesy Gordita Crunch could be ready faster than ever in Brooklyn Park, where Minnesota’s Border Foods plans to build the Taco Bell of the future, promising a “frictionless” ordering experience and its fastest delivery ever.

Construction begins this month on what’s being dubbed the Taco Bell “Defy” concept, which will feature a four-lane drive-thru setup with three lanes devoted to mobile and delivery pickups and one for the standard order-and-drive-through experience. The new concept features a unique two-story design, with employees working on the second level, above the drive-thru, communicating via digital screens and video, and providing contactless delivery through a proprietary lift system developed by Minneapolis-based Vertical Works, a design company that specializes in optimizing manufacturing and construction in quick-serve restaurants, retail, and healthcare.

“This new, innovative concept breaking ground in Brooklyn Park will improve a major aspect of the consumer experience: drive-thru speed,” said Aaron Engler, president of Border Foods, one of the largest, privately held Taco Bell franchisees in the country. The New Hope-based company—a 2018 recipient of TCB‘s Minnesota Family Business Awards—operates more than 200 Taco Bell locations across the Upper Midwest. Border Foods enlisted Vertical Works to help reimagine fast-food design.

“We’re partnering with Taco Bell and the best and brightest in technology and design to create what will very likely be the future of quick service restaurants,” Engler said.

The rise of food delivery services such as Doordash and Uber Eats—heightened during the pandemic—factors heavily into the design of Taco Bell Defy, That market is expected to reach more than $192 billion by 2025, according to an industry report, which accounts for drive-thru lanes specifically dedicated to mobile orders and third-party delivery services.

“What we learn from the test of this new Defy concept may help shape future Taco Bell restaurants,” Taco Bell’s President and Global COO Mike Grams said in a statement.

Why Brooklyn Park, of all places? “Situated in a growing community along a major thoroughfare, with a strong mix of residential and daily retail nearby,” said Engler, “the location for this new restaurant is ideal.”

Taco Bell Defy is expected to open next summer.