No contact. No dine-in. Just tacos straight to your car.
There's absolutely no doubt that fast-food restaurants have risen to the COVID-19 challenge. According to IBISWorld, the fast-food sector earned $240 billion in 2020. That was lower than previous years, but it's not the same hit that traditional restaurants took. Taco Bell actually held steady in 2020 despite COVID-19 restrictions, which leads us to this rather interesting take on a no-contact future for fast food.
The weird-looking Taco Bell you see at the top of this article is an idea from Border Foods, one of the largest Taco Bell franchises in the US. In short, the company wants to build the ultimate drive-thru that handles multiple cars at once while completely foregoing a dine-in experience. If this looks like the drive-up lanes at your local bank, you're not alone in that assessment. However, instead of depositing checks or getting cash, you'd get Crunchwraps, Cheesy Gorditas, or just good-old tacos. To some, such things are more valuable than gold.
This proposed drive-up would forego human contact while in your car, save for one specialty lane where hungry drivers could place an order and pick it up from a traditional window. The rest of the lanes would be reserved for orders placed online or through an app, with the food being delivered down to cars through a small food elevator called a dumbwaiter. Yes, the kitchen is actually above the drive-thru lanes.
That means no more peeking inside to see if a park-and-order dash to the counter might be quicker than waiting in the drive-up lane, or if it's suitably quiet for a serene sit-down meal in the dining room. Actually, it appears there's no more peeking inside at all, as we see no windows in this proposed Taco Bell. That should make for an awesome working environment.
Border Foods is proposing to build this futuristic Taco Bell in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Park, but it might not be an entirely drive-up endeavor. According to Bring Me The News, an indoor counter could exist for folks on foot to grab something on the run. The proposal has been made to the city, and if all goes according to plan, construction could begin in May 2021.