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First shipping container store for Taco Bell



Taco Bell has revealed a new building concept by building the first Taco Bell from shipping containers.

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This new building will be around half the size of a traditional Taco Bell.  It can be constructed within three days and with its modularity similar to Lego, it will be able to fit into a range of contexts.  

The company is planning to open 2000 new locations within the US by 2022, which is a 33% increase in store numbers.  Its goal is to double its revenue to $14bn in less than 10 years.  To allow them to reach this goal, it would have to enter more markets, but eliminate the overhead linked to traditional buildings.

Starbucks has been undertaking the conversion of shipping containers into coffee huts for three years now.  However, Starbucks glamorized the containers with the use of sheet metal finishes, local artwork and reclaimed wood paneling.  

Taco Bell intends using a more understated method.  Its first store will have the appearance of steel boxes stacked in a similar fashion to a child playing with large blocks.  Although the containers are being repainted, Taco Bell is using burnt sienna and matt white to emphasize the industrial finish of the container, rather than hiding it.  

This new form of modular building allows users to customize their building.  For example, the container where orders and pick up of food is done holds a complete prep line, but traditional Taco Bells normally have two prep lines.  This allows Taco Bell to place two containers next to each other in higher traffic areas, which would offer sufficient space for a prep line.

Taco Bell made use of the containers suppliers to Starbucks and they were told about the claustrophobia experienced by Starbucks employees working in the container.  To eliminate this, designers added a large window to the side.  

An additional container will house the operations section and act as storage, including an office for the manager of the site.  A third container will be stacked atop the others and act as housing for the cooling equipment. More containers will be welded onto the main structure, including a freezer and a bathroom.

The one problem with this method of construction is that there is no space inside for customers to sit.  Customers are able to enjoy their meals at tables and giant wire spools turned onto their sides.  The method used for the design allows for a drive-thru facility.  All that is required is to add a few more windows.

Taco Bell has not disclosed if they intend building more of these stores – they are waiting to see what happens with this one.

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