Taco Bell Launches Boozy Invasion Across America
Taco Bell’s boozy concept restaurants, known as cantinas, are about to invade cities all across the country, meaning you too will soon be able to pair tequila with your Doritos Locos Tacos. After finding success in hubs like Las Vegas, the chain plans to open over 300 locations in the next five years, ditching drive-thrus (which have historically been a cash cow for the taco chain) for bar space. In addition to the usual wine and beer that other fast food chains have slowly incorporated, Taco Bell cantinas will also offer Sangria and even spiked, “Twisted” versions of Taco Bell Freeze slushies, made with tequila, rum or vodka.
Food & Wine reports that the cantinas are part of the brand’s aggressive courtship of hip, funky-fresh millennials, who prefer tequila to self-consciously cramming a greasy drive-thru chalupa into their face while sitting in rush hour traffic. The new locations also bet big on other buzzy restaurant trends like open kitchens and digital menus.
Hipster hotspot Nashville will get major Taco Bell love (the best kind of love), as will the New York area (set to receive 50 locations). Interestingly, the company’s COO Mike Grams adds, “One of the cool things happening in America right now is the revitalization of urban areas, and we’re seeing millennials moving into downtown areas.” To that end, Pittsburgh and Detroit will also find themselves awash in Twisted Freezes.
Get ready, America. The cantina is coming.