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Taco Bell announced that it is breaking ground on a new format - called Taco Bell Defy - that it describes as a "3,000 square-foot, two-story model (that) features first-of-its-kind Vertical Works Inc.-licensed design and technology … The revolutionary pickup experience at the Defy restaurant is expected to be the fastest way ever to get Taco Bell – from cruising into any of its four lanes, to checking in, to grabbing your Taco Bell favorites – it's the frictionless future of Taco Bell."

According to the announcement, the restaurant "reimagines the traditional drive-thru experience with four lanes, three of which are dedicated to mobile or delivery order pickups, providing fast, skip-the-line service for customers who order via the Taco Bell app and third-party delivery services. These three lanes will supplement one traditional lane, easing the flow of traffic and ensuring a speedy experience. All of this will help Taco Bell Defy's footprint, which is smaller or equal to existing store footprints, serve even more customers.

"The Defy concept takes Taco Bell's digital infrastructure to new heights, too. Digital check-in screens allow mobile order customers to scan in their order via a unique QR code, then pull forward for a pickup experience that defies gravity: food is delivered seamlessly and in a contactless manner via a proprietary lift system, while two-way audio and video technology lets customers interact directly with the team members above in real time. The elevated kitchen design will optimize and streamline operations for the benefit of both Taco Bell team members and customers."

KC's View:

I have no idea if this will work or not once it is open, but it strikes me that the instinct is right - that the future has to be frictionless, and that the stores of the past may not work in the future.