What does the new Taco Bell Defy concept mean for Convenience?

Taco Bell made waves in early June with the announcement of their bold, innovative new Defy store experience.  The concept store, located in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, features four drive-thru lanes and myriad technology developments to aid in seamless, quick interactions with their customers to fulfill cross-channel orders.

Kevin Struthers, Associate Director of Digital at W. Capra, urged, “This new Taco Bell concept should not be seen merely as a signal to other fast-food operators and Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) that change is coming; this is a sign to all who strive to offer quick, convenient, access to high quality food and drink that adaptation is required.  As a company, you don’t get to define what convenience means.  The broader market and consumers are defining that for you, and expectations are being redefined every day.”

Taco Bell Defy is shattering the speed of interaction

According to a recent NACS fact sheet, a typical Convenience Store purchase takes 213 seconds (about 3 ½ minutes), while a study done by QSR magazine in 2021 indicated even the fastest in fast food- Taco Bell- had a speed from entry to exit of drive-thru of 268 seconds (about 4 ½ minutes).  The new Taco Bell concept is aiming to shatter both of those marks with the bold goal of a sub two-minute drive-thru experience.   Struthers asserted, “If this goal of sub two-minutes is achieved, Taco Bell suddenly becomes a much quicker and more convenient option for typical grab-and-go items like fountain drinks- other QSRs and Convenience Stores will be left scrambling for solutions.”

This concept seems like a far reach from how I operate, how do I get there?

Clint Cady, Partner at W. Capra emphasized, “Even though speed and reduction of friction may be the goal, hastily making changes to your payment ecosystem, technology stack, and store footprint will likely only lead to chaos throughout your organization and among your consumer base.  Consumers don’t want their goods faster at the expense of accuracy or quality.”

Struthers added, “ As I discussed recently with the CAPRAplus team, committing to testing and learning as soon as possible is critical.  Trying to achieve perfection is not as valuable as working on figuring out the best first step.  Even if you make a single change like ensuring all new stores have a second lane dedicated to mobile order pickups or a dedicated entry and parking area for order ahead, you’re taking a step in the right direction.  Attempting to solve everything simultaneously without a prioritized roadmap will only lead to internal swirl.”

You never know what you don’t know

As the digital commerce experience evolves, W. Capra maintains first-hand knowledge of breakthroughs and innovations occurring and in many cases, we have a direct hand in innovating the entire commerce landscape across verticals. While the pace of evolution often precludes the devotion of key team members to understanding and enacting the latest industry trends, our experts guide you through crafting and implementing an optimized, tailor-made consumer experience.

Clint Cady and Kevin Struthers are dedicated to leading W. Capra clients with tackling all things related to digital commerce and payments. For further discussion, contact Clint Cady at [email protected] or Kevin Struthers at [email protected].

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