Taco Bell integrates smart kitchens with mobile app

  • September 3, 2020
  • Steve Rogerson

Fast-food chain Taco Bell is integrating smart kitchen technology with its mobile app so restaurants can detect when customers have arrived and suggest the quickest route for a seamless pick-up.

Taco Bell Go Mobile customers will also have the option to receive their order via contactless kerbside pick-up.

The aim is to enhance the digital and drive-through experience with additional access points.

Taco Bell says it is merging technological advancements, innovative operations and a people-first approach into its most modern expression yet: Taco Bell Go Mobile. The restaurant concept allows the drive-through service to add digital features to the fast-food customer experience. The outlets are designed for customers to order ahead through the brand’s mobile app and collect and eat their food in a frictionless way.

The brand’s Go Mobile restaurants, the first of which will open early next year, have five main updates targeted for digital adoption to improve the customer experience:

  • Minimisation: Taco Bell Go Mobile locations house several digital advancements, all within 120 square metres, compared with the average 230 square metre Taco Bell outlet.
  • Dual drive-through: The concepts will have two drive-through lanes including a priority pick-up lane with rapid service for those who order via the Taco Bell app. This lane will supplement the existing, traditional lane.
  • Synchronised digital experience: Powered by smart kitchen technology that’s integrated with the Taco Bell app, Taco Bell Go Mobile restaurants will detect when people have arrived and suggest the quickest route for a seamless pick-up.
  • Kerbside pick-up: Taco Bell Go Mobile customers also have the option to receive their order via contactless kerbside pick-up.
  • Bellhops: To streamline the experience, Taco Bell Go Mobile will also include tablet ordering in drive-throughs and kerbside pickup, both of which will be operated by a concierge service of team members, known as bellhops.

“With demand for our drive-through at an all-time high, we know adapting to meet our consumers rapidly changing needs has never been more important,” said Taco Bell president Mike Grams. “The Taco Bell Go Mobile restaurant concept is not only an evolved physical footprint, but a completely synchronised digital experience centred around streamlining guest access points. For the first time, our guests will have the ability to choose the pick-up experience that best fits their needs, all while never leaving the comfort of their cars.”

While the first Taco Bell Go Mobile restaurant is still a few months away from opening, the brand has already begun incorporating some of its features in existing outlets.

The average time spent in a drive-through has been reduced by more than 15 seconds since the first quarter of 2020. Taco Bell has also recently rolled out other digital innovations outside of the restaurant experience. Launched nationally in July, the Taco Bell mobile app’s beta loyalty programme gives a deeper level of customisation in both what people are ordering, and now how they’re ordering. The focus on improving drive-through service and encouraging guests to order ahead unlocks a faster and more accurate experience.