Taco Bell is testing a 4-lane drive-thru—could it become a trend?

Taco Bell's four-lane drive-thru
Taco Bell

It is easier than ever to order something on your phone and pick it up when you’re ready. Now companies are trying to make the experience even smoother.

Chick-fil-A added an “express lane” to some drive-thru locations. It’s available to people who order ahead on the app.

Taco Bell is taking things one step further. In June, the chain began testing a new design concept at one of their restaurants in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota: a two-story structure with four drive-thru lanes. Some lanes are for people who ordered ahead, some for delivery drivers for third-party services, and others are “traditional” lanes. The goal is to serve people in under two minutes.

“I think people realize that their time is valuable and I’d like to spend it elsewhere, rather than 12 minutes in a drive-thru lane or 35 minutes in an aisle looking for something,” said Michael Strommen, CEO of PD Instore.

Taco Bell

Drive-thru wait times got longer during the pandemic. Last year, an average trip took six minutes and 22 seconds.

Taco Bell’s new drive-thru could serve people in a third of the time.

Its designers believe the concept could be used in other industries where people face longer wait times.

“In health care, let’s say, a Walgreens or a CVS, I think there’s an incredible opportunity,” Strommen said. “You’re beholden to whoever has 20 minutes of questions in front of you. And, you know, most — not most, but many of us, we don’t have any questions. We want an express lane.”

The leaders of Vertical Works, which designed the Taco Bell restaurant, said they hope to work with other companies soon.

No formal plans have been announced.

By Scripps National

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