Taco Bell's Move to Sell Hard Drinks: Fast Food to Fast Casual?


With Taco Bell's late night hours and inexpensive menu featuring filling foods such as the crunchy Nachos Bellagrande and the Cheesy Gordita Crunch, this chain has long accepted its reputation as the perfect ending to a typical millennial's night, where there may have been dancing, dining and a drink or two.

But this week, Taco Bell is planning to join the ranks of its competitors, such as Burger King, Starbucks and Chipotle, with a move that could elevate this fast-food restaurant into one with a touch of fast-casual flair. The company announced that it aims to sell hard drinks for the first time in the United States, more specifically by a new franchise opening this summer in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood.

While it doesn't expect the drinks themselves to be a huge source of revenue, Taco Bell acknowledges that beverage options are driving a consumer's restaurant choices. In a survey conducted by Technomic Inc., 21 percent of people said that drink choices played a deciding factor on where they took their business. 

This company has largely aligned itself with the millennial generation, and its decision to dabble in beer, wine and frozen cocktails is probably a step that further caters to the young professional's needs, however it is a choice that could mar its image as an affordable place for late-night munchies.

"We are always trying to stay relevant and listen to what the people want," Rob Poetsch, Taco Bell's director of public affairs, said. "I think it's no secret that Taco Bell and late nights are synonymous. This model we're testing is much more experiential." Read More

Posted on June 11, 2015 and filed under Fast Casual, Restaurant News, Restaurant Trends.