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Border Foods opens first-ever Taco Bell Defy in Brooklyn Park


New concept reimagines the traditional drive-thru with an elevated kitchen and unique vertical lift that delivers food to four drive-thru lanes for a faster, contactless experience

Brooklyn Park, Minn. (June 6, 2022) – Minnesota-based and family-owned Taco Bell® franchisee Border Foods today announced that Taco Bell Defy® will open its doors – and most importantly, its four-lane drive-thru – in Brooklyn Park on June 7. The first of its kind two-story model delivers innovative technology and design, like a proprietary vertical lift to transport iconic Taco Bell menu items straight from the kitchen to customers.

“Taco Bell Defy embodies the innovative, entrepreneurial spirit of Minnesota businesses and franchisees,” said Lee Engler, co-founder and CEO of Border Foods. “It is a creative, technological solution for a faster, contactless experience for as many Taco Bell fans as possible and is poised to be the future of quick-service dining.”

Taco Bell Defy aims to reduce service times to two minutes or less, all while providing fans with a fun, easy and seamless drive-thru experience. Regardless of how customers order, Taco Bell Defy has four lanes to accommodate them:

  • Pre-orders: Customers who order via the Taco Bell app will score skip-the-line service. For ultimate ease and convenience, the Taco Bell App can be downloaded ahead of time by visiting the Apple App Store or Google Play.
  • Delivery drivers: For those ordering through a third-party delivery partner, drivers will be able to process orders with the goal of providing an even faster delivery time.
  • Traditional drive-thru: For those who prefer to drop in for their favorite menu items, there’s one lane dedicated solely for this purpose.

Minneapolis-based Vertical Works Inc. merged innovation, design and manufacturing to concept and build much of what fans can expect from Defy, and in doing so reinvented the drive-thru experience. Vertical Works is powered by WORKSHOP and PD Instore  

“We applied our innovative approach to problem solving to create a brand-new way for consumers to access fast food,” said Josh Hanson, co-founder of Vertical Works and CEO and founder of WORKSHOP. “We know today’s consumer expects a convenient and memorable experience, and the Taco Bell Defy concept delivers on both.”

“We were excited to partner with Border Foods and Taco Bell to bring the Taco Bell Defy concept to life,” said Mike Strommen, co-founder of Vertical Works and CEO of PD Instore. “The Border Foods team was facing challenges with streamlining the journey from order to meal hand-off, and the Vertical Works team presented a solution to not only address this, but also deliver a more impactful customer experience overall. Taco Bell Defy’s unique design combined with innovative technology delivers food to consumers faster and more efficiently.”

From digital check-in screens for mobile order customers’ unique QR codes, to a two-way audio and video technology service for customers to talk to team members on the second floor, Taco Bell Defy boasts many features that could show up in future Taco Bell restaurants in the US. In the meantime, Border Foods and Taco Bell are considering potential retrofits that could be made to several of Taco Bell Defy’s neighboring restaurants.

“Taco Bell Defy is an incredible innovation for our brand, and one that’s meeting our consumer in a really unique way. For decades we’ve been committed to providing a fast, safe and friendly drive-thru experience; now with our bold goal of creating a two minute or less drive-thru experience for customers of this concept, Taco Bell Defy is the future,” said Mike Grams, Taco Bell President and Global COO. “We’re thankful for our incredible 36-year partnership with Border Foods and feel like Taco Bell Defy is a culmination of years of success between our teams, along with the expertise of local partners like Vertical Works who helped make this possible.”