A new type of Taco Bell is coming to Brooklyn Park, and it's geared for diners who prefer to order meals through an app and simply drive through to pick them up.
In what is believed to be the first fast-food restaurant of its kind in the Twin Cities, the Taco Bell will look and operate much like a bank. It will feature multiple pickup lanes, some under a canopy, and use dumbwaiters to deliver dinner for those who have preordered.
There will be a place to walk in and order at a counter indoors, but no dine-in seating.
The restaurant to be built at N. 94th and Colorado avenues will be "a unique modern design different from anything we have seen," said Brooklyn Park Planning Director Cindy Sherman. "We are pretty excited."
The City Council approved the plan at its Monday meeting.
Groundbreaking could take place in late summer or early fall, a spokeswoman for Border Foods, the Minnesota-based franchisee for the restaurant featuring Mexican fare, said before the measure passed.
"We're working through hundreds and thousands of details," said Border's Chief Development Officer Barb Schneider. "There is not a playbook available for this concept."
The two-story restaurant will feature four drive-through lanes. One lane will be reserved for traditional customers who order off a menu board and pick up and pay for their food at a window. Three other lanes will be reserved for customers using app-based ordering and to accommodate food delivery services.
In another novelty, the building will have two kitchens. A first-floor kitchen will be used to prepare orders for the traditional drive-through lane and walk-in customers who order at the counter.
All other orders will be prepared in a second-floor kitchen above the pickup lanes, then sent to the customer through a device in a manner similar to how tubes are used at a bank.
"It's very forward-thinking," said Council Member Susan Pha. "I think it will be very successful, if we look at the data on how people want their food."
Schneider did not say how many jobs the restaurant would create, but "we anticipate we will have an overabundance of staff to adequately service folks."
A newly released Top Data study found that Taco Bell is the most popular place to get tacos. The study released Thursday found that Americans' taco consumption increased by 12.8% during the pandemic and that one in five Americans eat at least one taco a day.
It was not immediately clear if Border Foods has plans for other locations in the Twin Cities. Calls and e-mails to the New Hope-based business and Taco Bell corporate headquarters were not returned.
Tim Harlow • 612-673-7768