Taco Bell goes all-digital in Times Square, eliminates lines and talking

Times Square in its semi-natural pre-pandemic state
Times Square in its semi-natural pre-pandemic state
Photo: Anadolu Agency (Getty Images)

Ah, Times Square, crossroads of the world, where tourists from everywhere mingle with Disney characters, Broadway fanatics, and the occasional harassed New Yorker who just wants to get to the office in peace! Maybe a better description is the armpit of Manhattan, crowded, smelly, and unavoidable, a place where you do your best not to disturb the universe.*

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All this makes it the best possible place for Taco Bell to open up its first digital-only location in the U.S. How marvelous: you can get your gorditas and quesaritos without having to talk to anybody!

The new location opens today, CNBC reports, in the Paramount Building at Broadway and West 43rd Street. Customers can either order ahead via cell phone or computer or at one of 10 kiosks inside the restaurant, and then at the appointed time, presto! the food is ready. There’s also a separate entrance for delivery drivers. All this is intended to prevent long lines and short tempers and also that annoying person who stares indecisively at the menu board while an impatient crowd forms behind them. In fact, there’s no menu board at all. There is, however, alcohol, since this location is technically a Taco Bell Cantina.

Taco Bell opened its first digital-only location this past December in the Wembley area of London. If anyone has visited, please let us know about this modern marvel in the comments.

* Don’t @ me. My first job out of college was in an office building in Times Square. The first thing I saw every morning upon leaving the subway was a big neon sign that said “Too much is not enough.” Too much sensory overload before caffeine is not an optimal way to start the workday.

Associate editor of The Takeout. Chicagoan. Owned by dog.

DISCUSSION

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I would assume being a really big city they have a law or at least public outcry about taking cash so as not to push out the poor folks who don’t have debit cards or smartphones. I bet it’s more fun than having the Amazon clerkless market have to wheel out the guy with the cash register.