Taco Bell isn’t one for simplicity. This is a brand, after all, that’s shoved Cheetos inside burritos and shaped crispy chicken into taco shells. With so many additions to its menu over the years, it stands to reason that the fast food chain would make similar changes to its interiors.
After announcing the news in May, the salsa-drenched fast food chain has officially unveiled four new design concepts to its Southern California market. It’s a decidedly more upscale look for the neon-hued, Southwestern-inspired Taco Bell. There’s outdoor patio seating lit by fireplaces, community dining tables made from reclaimed wood, and open kitchens.
An overview of the four new designs, all now open in Orange County, CA.:
• California Sol (Newport Beach, CA.): Inspired by Taco Bell’s California roots and the California lifestyle, this design “blurs the lines between indoor and outdoor.”
• Heritage (Tustin, CA.): This design hearkens back Taco Bell’s original Mission Revival style which, as the brand says, is “characterized by warm white walls with classic materials in the tile and heavy timbers." It’s also characterized by quesaritos.
• Modern Explorer (Santa Ana, CA.): This is said to be a more “refined version” of the brand’s Cantina Explorer restaurants.
• Urban Edge (Brea, CA.): The company says this design “represents international high street style done the Taco Bell way.” Because nothing says high style like a Doritos Locos Taco.
Taco Bell is also moving ahead with its boozy Cantina concepts and slated to open a 24-hour Las Vegas flagship, complete with alcoholic slushies, this fall.
The new makeover certainly begs the question: Is Taco Bell attempting to go the Chipotle route? In an interview with CNCBC, the CEO of Yum Brands (the chain’s parent company) called the two “very different brands,” so probably not. But the brand is on the right track in making its new designs a little more comfortable. According to Yum Brands CEO Greg Creed, about half the U.S. population dines at Taco Bell every month.
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