[LR does not condone drive-thrus as they are polluting, promote driving, and serve unhealthy food. Nonetheless the technology enabling the higher density & food serving logistics may find applications in more urban, pedestrian environments. LBM]

The first-of-its-kind restaurant has multiple drive-thru lanes and uses a proprietary lift system to deliver food from the second-story kitchen right to your car. Can’t stand waiting in long drive-thru lines to grab a quick bite? A soon-to-open Taco Bell location hopes to solve that problem and give new meaning to “fast” food.

On Tuesday, June 7, the first-of-its-kind two-story Taco Bell Defy opens in Brooklyn Park. The concept, born from the pandemic, aims to reinvent the drive-thru and cut back on bottlenecks and backups as customers wait to pick up their orders.

Here’s how it works.

This Taco Bell has four drive-thru lanes, each of which serves a different purpose. There are lines for customers who preorder their Crunchwrap Supremes and Quesaritos ahead of time on the Taco Bell app, a spot for delivery drivers to pull up and quickly grab orders made with third-party partners, and then a single traditional drive-thru lane.

But there’s a twist – a drive-thru attendant isn’t handing you your food through a window. Instead, orders are lowered down to your car.

“The guest comes in, they pull up to the arrival monitor and they scan their phone. It checks in for orders prepared and assigns it to a lane. Once the order is assigned to the lane, we just verify the customer’s name, we lift up the top of the lift, put the food in, push the two buttons and it’s on its way,” explained Jarret Persons, regional manager for Border Foods.

Minneapolis-based Vertical Works designed a proprietary lift that lowers food from the second-story kitchen, located above the drive-thru line, down to your car. The goal is to keep service times to two minutes or less by using digital check-in screens and two-way audio between customers and employees.

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