No, Taco Bell isn’t taking your drive-thru away (but they will add more boozy locations)

This is how rumors get started. One media outlet misreads or misinterprets another media outlet’s report, or an overzealous headline writer gets involved and pretty soon you’ve got customers thinking they have to choose between having a drive-thru or alcohol at their local Taco Bell.


The company has announced a major push into urban markets that would add 300 to 350 of its beer- and wine-serving Taco Bell Cantina concept restaurants by the year 2022, Food and Wine reported. It’s a concept the chain has already rolled out in downtown Berkeley and Southern California.

In an interview, Chief Operating Officer Mike Grams told the magazine: “One of the cool things happening in America right now is the revitalization of urban areas, and we’re seeing millennials moving into downtown areas” — and naturally, Taco Bell would like to tap into that market.

But these urban eateries would likely be situated in dense neighborhoods of cities like New York, Detroit, Pittsburgh and Nashville where there isn’t the room or the desire for drive-thru lanes.

“No drive-thrus will be removed from existing locations,” a Taco Bell spokesman confirmed Tuesday. “This is just an expansion of restaurants in urban markets (like Berkeley) that will not have drive-thrus as part of those new developments.”

If you want to check out the concept, the Berkeley cantina at 2528 Durant Ave. features an open kitchen, a menu of shareable items (besides the traditional menu), extended hours — and several microbrews.

You in suburbia? According to Food & Wine, your drive-thru orders account for 55 percent to 70 percent of Taco Bell revenues. So after pulling away from the window, you may need to hit the convenience market for beer on your way home.


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