The Futuristic Way You May Soon Be Ordering Take-Out From Taco Bell

On April 14, Taco Bell will launch a fully digital Cantina in Times Square. The ordering and paying, Taco Bell explained in a press release shared with Mashed, can be conducted purely through the digital, billboard-like kiosks that line the restaurant in lieu of analog menu boards

In a different section, with its own pair of doors, lie the Order Ahead Pickup Cubbies. In these, orders placed will be stored until the customer enters their order number on the touchscreen. This will allow customers who purposefully ordered before arriving at the Cantina to retrieve their food without waiting in line. 

To celebrate their ensconcement within New York's iconic tourist destination, Taco Bell will offer an exclusive freeze flavor at the Times Square Cantina for as long as supplies last: the Bell Apple Freeze. For $3.59, this mixes the Green Apple Freeze with a sweet cherry apple flavor. While new flavor and souveniers offerings are nice, the exciting aspect to keep one's eye on will be the Order Ahead Pickup Cubbies, specifically to see if they will develop into a staple for the industry.

Taco Bell's solution to the new drive-thru

Taco Bell's new Cantina exhibits a possible course for them to take after the ongoing coronavirus pandemic placed newfound importance on the drive-thru. Specifically, it shows ways to adapt to their urban locations.

In 2015, L. A. Biz described how Taco Bell saw their future in the urban, pedestrian youth: The chain aimed to capitalize on the largely carless millennial lifestyle by establishing restaurants without drive-thrus. This worked until the possibility of disease meant that customers did not want to dawdle inside a Taco Bell.

Obviously, you cannot build a drive-thru for a Cantina set in Times Square or other such localities. However, by introducing a cubby hole that will only open for the order, Taco Bell has found a way to introduce a similarly fluid process to their pedestrian restaurants. More so, in fact, as drive-thrus would have people waiting in line and traditional pickup requires customers to grab the employees' attention. If done properly, the Order Ahead Pickup Cubbies could prove to be the most convenient way to receive your fast food, and so the future for pedestrian-friendly restaurants.