"Cantina" style restaurants will be spread across the country
Taco Bell is cutting out the middle man.
The chain, often heralded as a favorite late night stop of people who have been tying one on, has announced plans to open between 300 and 350 “Cantina” style locations, which will sell boozy concoctions ranging from beer and wine to margaritas and other alcohol-infused slushies. The stores will roll out in big cities, like Detroit, Boston and Pittsburgh (and a whopping 50 locations in New York City) between now and 2022. They’ll follow the model of the company’s Las Vegas Taco Bell Cantina, which has been a popular stop for people walking the city’s famous Strip.
Beyond margaritas, the Cantinas will also serve sangria and “Twisted Freezes,” frozen drinks with tequila, rum, or vodka.
The inclusion of booze alongside such menu items as the Naked Egg Taco (which uses an egg as the shell of a breakfast taco), the Crunchwrap Supreme and the Naked Chicken Chalupa will come at a cost, though. Cantinas that serve alcohol won’t have drive through windows. As Food and Wine points out, that’s a risky move, since between 55 and 70% of the chain’s revenues come from drive-through orders.
Taco Bell, though, “isn’t afraid to try new things,” says chief operating officer Mike Grams. Earlier this year, the company teamed with Lyft to let the ride-sharing service’s passengers request a stop at Taco Bell between 9pm and 2am.