Taco Bell opened its first-ever Cantina in Los Angeles, inside a former Hollywood Golden Age bookstore on Hollywood Boulevard. Though the Taco Bell Cantinas — the “cool” brand offshoot that serves alcohol and tapas — have been around for nearly a decade, the brand is constantly looking to upgrade these urban stores aimed at younger customers.
Inside this new Cantina/Hollywood historical landmark, the Yum Brands company has installed five digital ordering kiosks that are replacing traditional menu boards, and a movie screen and speakers that can handle events like screenings and DJ parties. The spot will also sell its own Taco Bell merchandise from a curated collection. With alcohol sales mixed with the capability of throwing parties, Taco Bell could be looking to become a part of the LA nightlife scene.
"We're excited to be part of LA history with the continued expansion of our Cantina concept," said Taco Bell president and global COO Mike Grams said in a statement. "These flexible formats are bringing iconic Taco Bell experiences to our fans across America, made possible by strong partnerships with our franchisees and the best restaurant teams."
The Cantina will be owned and operated by Costa Mesa-based franchisee, C&R Restaurant Group and touts a better experience for both customers — who can order digitally instead of waiting in line at the counter — and employees.
“The kiosks are supplemented by the traditional ordering method at the counter but do ease the stream of access to team members and allows fans to take ordering into their own hands,” a Taco Bell representative confirmed with Nation’s Restaurant News.
According to Taco Bell, team members also prefer working at restaurants with the latest digital technology that makes their jobs more efficient and draws customers in.
"Taco Bell Cantinas continue to embody the spirit of the community, with our latest Hollywood location delivering an immersive, craveable brand experience to our Los Angeles guests," Brian Cox, owner of C&R Restaurant Group said in a statement.
Taco Bell continues to invest in its Cantina offshoots, and just last spring, announced a drag brunch tour across the U.S. at its Cantina restaurants.
The latest Cantina store is just one small step in Taco Bell’s larger growth journey. Last quarter, Taco Bell opened 253 gross new units, and it’s part of a wider strategy to expand Taco Bell’s footprint to be on-par with McDonald’s, Taco Bell CEO Mark King said during Yum Brands’ investor day in December.
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