WASHINGTON — Taco Bell’s menu won’t change, but the look of its restaurants will.
Starting this year, Taco Bell roll out four new restaurant designs that look at lot more like a Chipotle or a Cava, with wooden beams, soft LED lighting, local art and tables and chairs that aren’t bolted down.
The newly-designed restaurants will have an open kitchen. Some will have patios, and if you’re eating on the premises, your Gordita Baja or Triple Steak Burrito may be served on a proper plate, not wrapped up in paper.
“From the open kitchen that showcases our freshly prepared foods to the community tables designed for friends to hang out, each of these formats fosters a modern, unique experience,” said Taco Bell Chief Marketing Officer Marisa Thalberg.
Taco Bell began experimenting with a new format it calls “Cantina” last year with locations in San Francisco and Chicago, where beer, wine and sangria are on the beverage menu.
The first of the four new designs will open in Orange County, California, this summer, with other cities to follow.
Taco Bell has more than 7,000 locations, and plans to open 2,000 more in the next four years.
Taco Bell is owned by YUM! Brands Inc., which also owns KFC and Pizza Hut. Its worldwide system sales were up 5 percent from a year ago last quarter.