Can ‘upscale’ fast food restaurants survive?

By Sumit Modi

The opening of Taco Bell’s latest Cantina restaurant in Las Vegas has thrown a spotlight onto the concept of ‘upscale’ fast food. This is the fourth Taco Bell Cantina, which boasts a more sophisticated menu and a redesigned stylish interior. The Vegas restaurant in particular also includes a merchandise store stocked with clothing, bags, and jewellery.

One of the hottest features of the Cantina is the Freeze Wall which includes a choice of eight frozen drinks on tap, to which diners can also add alcohol. Food is prepared in an open kitchen and served in baskets. Also available is sharing plates of quesadillas, nachos, and chicken fingers, allowing a social tapas-style experience.

The Cantina not only has digital menu boards, but visitors are able to order via tablet, lessening waiting times. Bizarrely, a DJ area and VIP lounge are also included.

The future looks bright for the Taco Bell Cantina, with locations planned in Cincinnati, Berkley, Fayetteville, San Antonio and Cleveland, but can such restaurants survive amid the ever-growing restaurant industry, or should fast food chains stick to what they know? Only time will tell.

 

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