Taco Bell says self-serve ordering kiosks are next big push for 2018 – Orange County Register

Taco Bell is testing self-serve ordering stations at a store in Irvine near The District shopping center. The Irvine chain said Thursday that it plans to step up kiosks in 2018. (Nancy Luna, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Taco Bell announced plans Thursday to step up its digital services in 2018, including adding self-serve ordering kiosks in restaurants.

The Irvine-based chain, which operates more than 6,700 restaurants, said it has reached an agreement with its franchisees to fund new technologically-driven services that provide “customers and team members with frictionless digital experiences.”

Among the priorities for diners is to expedite the number of self-serve ordering stations at restaurants in 2018. The new program, called “All Access,” is aimed at providing an easy connection — from delivery to group ordering.

Taco Bell said it also plans to “prioritize and invest” in faster networks and improved back-of-house systems.

In Orange County, a restaurant in Irvine is currently testing self-serve tablets — a service many remodeled McDonald’s restaurants are adding.

Taco Bell did not disclose financial details of the agreement, including how the company and franchisees plan to fund the new digital programs.

“Our fantastic relationship with our franchisees and our growth mindset have enabled us to create an aggressive plan to make Taco Bell an All Access brand,” Taco Bell Chief Executive Brian Niccol said in a statement. “We always aim to stay relevant with changing consumer tastes and trends, whether that be creating innovative menu items or offering the latest technology that connects customers to our brand when they want it, where they want it.”

The announcement comes as consumers continue to rely on mobile apps, text messages, and the internet to order from restaurants, according to market research firm The NPD Group. Mobile ordering and curbside pickup are especially popular among a new generation of…

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