Taco Bell Just Redefined Fast Food For Millennials

Photo: Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images.
Update: If you're a millennial urbanite, Taco Bell really wants your business. According to a recent post by Eater, over the next five years the company is set to open over 300 new locations in markets like Chicago, Manhattan (and its surrounding boroughs), Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Nashville, as well as a large portion of the West Coast. These new "urban in-line" locations will not only serve up alcohol and chicer vibes (Eater says the stores will include "localized design and artwork, open kitchens, and digital menu boards"), but will also mark a notable shift away from the drab drive-thru windows of our fast food pasts.
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This article was originally published on May 30, 2016.
Way back in September 2015, the first Taco Bell location to serve boozy beverages opened its doors in Chicago. Since then, fans outside of Chicago and the few other cities where the Cantina concept has landed, have wondered when and if they would ever get a chance to try those alcoholic Twisted Freezes along with Doritos Locos Tacos and Crunch Wrap Supremes. Well, recently, the chain announced an ambitious expansion plan that might mean more chances to slurp down tequila-filled Cantina Punch in other cities very soon.
Last week, Taco Bell shared its growth plan for the next five years, and it looks like it's full of good news for fans of the chain. According to a Taco Bell Corp. press release, the company plans to have around 9,000 locations worldwide by 2022. As GrubStreet pointed out, that means it will add about 2,500 more locations.
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While Taco Bell lovers are probably always excited by the idea of more Crunch Wraps in the world, what we're really curious about during this period of extreme expansion are those Taco Bell locations with bars. The press release explained that of the 2,500 new T-Bell locations, at least 300 of them will be Cantina style, which is what the company has dubbed the locations that serve alcohol. We can expect that most of them will be in urban markets because as Mike Grams, Taco Bell's COO, explains, "Urban markets require a different approach for Taco Bell to stay relevant for consumers and create a successful business model for our franchisees." Specifically, Grams mentioned New York City and Chicago as areas where the cantina concept could thrive.
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In addition to more Cantina locations in the U.S., Taco Bell will expand in Brazil, Canada, China, and India, which are all key markets for the company. Each of those four countries is expected to get 100 new locations between now and 2022. Spain, Guatemala, South Korea, and the U.K. will be getting more T-Bells as well. New Taco Bell. We're guessing the next five years will bring plenty of new, kooky menu items to Taco Bells all across the globe, and not to mention those Twisted Freezes are about to really start flowing.
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