Taco Bell's 'experience of the future’ debuts in Vegas

Taco Bell has unveiled a new flagship location in Las Vegas, along with a new logo and what the brand calls “the Taco Bell exper

The Las Vegas Strip has long been known for gambling, showgirls and Elvis impersonators, but soon it may also be known for Mexican-inspired quick service food with the grand opening of Taco Bell’s new flagship location in Las Vegas.

The opening on November 14 will also see the launch of a new logo and what the brand calls “the Taco Bell experience of the future.”

Taco Bell says this new so-called Cantina restaurant fits right in on the Las Vegas Strip. It is open 24 hours and includes an eight-flavor freeze wall – with alcohol add-ons, naturally – as well as in-restaurant retail and digital features and a grand opening event with musician Robert DeLong. It marks the brand’s 7000th location and first flagship.

According to Taco Bell, the retail experience at its Vegas location is “the latest example of how the brand looks to create new cultural ground” with branded merchandise like hats, shirts, bags, bikinis, rings and sweatshirts.

The flagship will also feature digital menu boards and queues to monitor orders, as well as portable ordering tablets to reduce wait times, the brand said. What’s more, the 16 screens lining the interior wall will feature entertainment, live-stream video, sports and social media conversation. The location will also include a dedicated space for DJs, a “Wall of Taps,” outdoor misters and heaters, community-style seating, VIP lounges and “unique custom artwork.” The two-story building is faced with a wall of glass, an upstairs mezzanine and lounge “overlooking the action” and an outdoor patio on Harmon Corner and the Vegas Strip.

In addition, Taco Bell said an open kitchen design and open-faced serving baskets “give customers a look inside Taco Bell’s quality ingredients.”

“This flagship restaurant is our ultimate expression of the Taco Bell brand and lifestyle,” said chief marketing officer, Marisa Thalberg.

Las Vegas is the fourth Taco Bell Cantina restaurant. Cantina locations feature a tapas-style menu of shareable appetizers in addition to the full Taco Bell menu. Additional Cantina locations include Chicago, San Francisco and Austin. Future locations are in development in Cincinnati, Berkeley, Fayetteville, San Antonio and Cleveland and numerous additional U.S. cities are under consideration, the brand said.

The grand opening will also mark the reveal of Taco Bell’s first logo refresh since 1995 and follows its new design concepts, which the brand says is a culmination of moves representing its plan to become a $15bn brand by 2022 while adding 2,000 new restaurants globally.

Per Taco Bell, the new logo mirrors its new restaurant strategy, which is “one size doesn’t fit all,” adding, “In this modern take, color makes a splash and allows customization through patterns and textures, giving usage flexibility while maintaining its iconic framework.”

Digital rollout of the new logo takes place today (November 14) and physical assets like restaurant design, packaging and impacted retail partners will roll out more gradually.

The refreshed logo was created in partnership with creative consultancy Lippincott and Taco Bell’s internal design group, TBD.

In 2015, Taco Bell opened more than 275 restaurants and remodeled about 600 and it is on pace to exceed both figures in 2016. Further, of the 2,000 restaurants planned by 2022, 200 will be urban locations, which Taco Bell calls “a typically underrepresented geographic area for the brand.”

Urban concept restaurants have five things that differentiate them from standard Taco Bell restaurants: décor, local artwork, open kitchen layouts, open plating and shareable menus, the brand added.

Taco Bell is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands. Taco Bell says it serves over 42 million customers each week.

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