Brooklyn Park, MN

Taco Bell Reinvents Drive-Thru Concept With Futuristic Restaurant

Douglas Pilarski

You’ve Never Seen A Drive-thru Like This Before!
Taco Bell DefyCourtesy Taco Bell Corp.

Meet Defy. Taco Bell’s most innovative restaurant design yet.

Forget the traditional drive-thru experience. Taco Bell is launching a new restaurant experience in Brooklyn Park, MN. The 3,000-square-foot, two-story restaurant is set to open on June 7th.

“Taco Bell Defy embodies Minnesota businesses and franchisees’ innovative, entrepreneurial spirit,” said Lee Engler, co-founder, and CEO of Border Foods. “It is a creative, technological solution for a faster, contactless experience for as many Taco Bell fans as possible and is poised to be the future of quick-service dining.”

Order online- skip the line. Defy is a new restaurant concept developed in partnership with Minneapolis-based Vertical Works Inc., a design company that works with quick-serve restaurants, retailers, and healthcare tenants.

The concept reimagines the traditional drive-thru experience with four lanes, three dedicated to mobile or delivery order pickups.

Taco Bell is redefining drive-thrus with its most innovative Taco Bell restaurant design yet. The first of its kind two-story model delivers innovative technology and design, like a proprietary vertical lift to get iconic crave-able menu items straight from the kitchen to fans, digital check-in screens for mobile order customers’ unique QR codes, and two-way audio and video technology service for customers to talk to team members on the second floor for support with their orders.

Customers who order via the Taco Bell app or third-party delivery services skip the line. A digital check-in screen enables mobile order customers to scan their order via a unique QR code.

“We were excited to partner with Border Foods and Taco Bell to bring the Taco Bell Defy concept to life,” said Mike Strommen, co-founder of Vertical Works and CEO of PD Instore. “The Border Foods team was facing challenges with streamlining the journey from order to meal hand-off, and the Vertical Works team presented a solution to not only address this, but also deliver a more impactful customer experience overall. Taco Bell Defy’s unique design combined with innovative technology delivers food to consumers faster and more efficiently.”

The drive-thru lanes are below the restaurant kitchen. Food is delivered in a contactless manner via a proprietary lift system. The Defy footprint is smaller than existing Taco Bell store footprints with no indoor dining.

“We applied our innovative approach to problem solving to create a brand new way for consumers to access fast food,” said Josh Hanson, co-founder of Vertical Works and CEO and founder of WORKSHOP. “We know today’s consumer expects a convenient and memorable experience, and the Taco Bell Defy concept delivers on both.”

In development since 2020, Border Foods, one of the largest privately held Taco Bell franchisees in America, enlisted Vertical Works to create a new restaurant design. With Defy, Taco Bell and Border Foods will partner on their 230th restaurant, and 82nd new restaurant build.

Since 1962, Taco Bell has aimed to be a disruptor within its industry, dating back to when Glen Bell opened his first Taco Bell – later appropriately named “Numero Uno” in Downey, CA.

In what was once a “burger world,” Glen aimed to revolutionize what it meant to bring Mexican-inspired food to the masses with early restaurant concepts that featured walk-up windows, outdoor seating, fire pits, and live music.

In the 70s, drive-thrus were introduced to appeal to shifted consumer behaviors, and since then, Taco Bell has introduced innovative restaurant design concepts like Cantina and Go Mobile models.

As the brand celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, Taco Bell Defy symbolizes a significant drive-thru evolution, with advancements in digital to meet consumers’ need for speed. From Numero Uno to Defy, Taco Bell’s iconic designs follow Glen’s vision and always aim to deliver crave-able flavors for fans.

About Taco Bell Corp.

For more information about Taco Bell, visit You can also stay up to date on Taco Bell by following us on Facebook, Instagram, Taco Bell’s Twitter, Taco Bell News’ Twitter, TikTok, and subscribing to our YouTube channel.

About Border Foods

Border Foods is a family-owned franchisee of Taco Bell, the nation’s leading Mexican-inspired quick-service restaurant. With more than 230 locations (and growing) across the Upper Midwest, it is one of the largest Taco Bell franchises in the country. Visit the Border Foods website at

About Vertical Works Inc.

For more information about Vertical Works Inc., visit the website at Vertical Works, LLC is a disruptive solutions consultancy powered by designers and makers from WORKSHOP and PD Instore. Vertical Works merges design, manufacturing, and construction to concept and build industry-leading solutions for quick-serve restaurants, retail, healthcare, and beyond. Visit for more information.

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Douglas Pilarski is an award-winning writer & journalist based on the west coast. He writes about luxury goods, exotic cars, horology, tech, food, lifestyle, and workplace issues!

Beaverton, OR

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