This week Taco Bell committed to a massive redesign project of its restaurants, starting at home in California.
The fast food chain is moving away from the typical “one size fits all” model, and will instead feature four interior design concepts that will cater to the community that each restaurant belongs to.
Heritage: A modern interpretation of Taco Bell’s original Mission Revival style with warm white walls, tile and chunky timbers.
Modern Explorer: A rustic, modern take on the brand’s cantina restaurants that will work particularly well in either suburban or rural communities since this style echoes the farms that provide the ingredients in Taco Bell’s menu items.
California Sol: A celebration of the chain’s California roots, this design capitalizes on the concept of outdoor rooms and living with its embrace of the joys of al fresco dining and nearby beaches.
Urban Edge: An amalgam of international and street style featuring lots of urban design elements.
The move makes sense, with the backlash in recent years towards fast food and pre-packaged products in the mainstream. But it’s still a surprise in the size and scope of the project. With more than 6,500 locations (mostly in the United States), there’s no telling how long it will take for the restaurant redesigns to finish, but the initial rollout will happen in Orange County, California this summer.
The glaring issue that isn’t talked about in any of the press materials is the cost that franchise owners are going to have to pay to have their restaurants retrofitted, or the timeline that they will be expected to follow across the country. If the renovation bills reach into the tens of thousands of dollars, how willing are some of the franchisees going to be to get this done?
However, it should be noted that Taco Bell does plan to open 2,000 new locations by 2022, and all of those locations will be opened with the new design elements included. Corporate stores will also be changed over, giving the new design some traction in the public eye.
So, Taco Bell has made a HUGE decision for its chain, one that will take time and money to execute, and from the renderings provided, looks good. But, will it make a difference? Will it sell more tacos and nachos supreme?
For all of the design changes, many people will still look you in the eye and say “but it’s Taco Bell”, this isn’t a high end restaurant, it’s still fast food, no matter how you slice it. Others will appreciate the changes and the chain trying harder to actually fit into neighbourhoods aesthetically.
Tell us what you think!
all photos via Taco Bell