Sunday, October 11, 2020

Taco Bell Fits in with Future Leaders


Today, most colleges campuses have become a melting pot of culture, ethnic diversity, and a commonality uniting them striving to step-up and stand-out.  Taco Bell consumers have the same commonality according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.

Students, at the University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) are a cross-section of America today including Anglo (28%), Asian-American (28%), International (19%), Hispanic (14%), African-American (5%).  With many students also coming from India, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam this campus looks like the melting pot America has always been.

Recently, Taco Bell expanding it brand opening its first and the nation’s only on-campus Taco Bell Cantina which opened at the start of the semester. The restaurant is a fresh take on the traditional Taco Bell concept with a newer look, digital kiosks, unique menu items, beer, and wine. It is the latest branded restaurant partnership addition from Chartwells Higher Education.

The Taco Bell Cantina is “a place where students can come and hang out, even during COVID-19, thanks to a large outdoor dining space which provides plenty of room to physically distance,” stated Bob Fishbein, associate vice president of Auxiliary Operations & Economic Development at UT Dallas. “As the first Taco Bell Cantina in the area, we are excited to provide this experience to our students, faculty, and staff, and the surrounding Richardson community as well.”  

This year only about one-third of students are attending class in person. However, the Taco Bell Cantina is in Parking Structure 3, so it’s convenient for students coming to and leaving campus. It’s also across the street from Residence Hall North and a block from the Northside Apartments.

 “We are always working to bring the newest food concepts to the campus community and Taco Bell Cantina fits the bill,” said Pam Stanley, director of Food & Retail Services, Auxiliary Services at UT Dallas. “There are fewer than fifty Taco Bell Cantina concepts around the country and we are so excited to be the first college campus to have one.”

 This is also the first Taco Bell Cantina for franchisee North Texas Bells. President Troy Morrison said he is excited to work with Chartwells and UT Dallas and thinks a college campus is the perfect place for this new concept.

 “I’m from Louisiana and in college we had a place on campus called Burger Chef,” Morrison said. “That was kind of the meeting place for all the students. We really want to serve the UT Dallas community and want Taco Bell Cantina to be that meeting place. So, this is a bit nostalgic for me.”

 “The Cantina is definitely my new favorite restaurant location on campus to go with friends and the food is amazing,” said junior marketing and digital media student Eric Aaberg. “I was honestly surprised by the high quality of the food without the prices being high. The value menu is perfect for grabbing an extra item or two for later for just $1.”

 According to Chartwells Director of Retail Dining Nick Norris, the value was one of the reasons they wanted Taco Bell Cantina. The concept provides affordable meal options for budget-conscious students, and it has become the busiest dining location on campus.

More than just affordable food the integrated technology will also attract the attention of students according to Johnson, it accepts Comet Cards, students can get food delivered using Starship Technologies delivery robots, or mobile ordering, each for an additional fee. Comet Cash is accepted for Starship delivery.

How is your branded expanding it’s footprint?  With Beer, Wine, Technology, or expanded menu? Are you looking for a new partnership to drive sales? Are you ready for some fresh ideations? Do your food marketing tactics look more like yesterday that tomorrow?  Visit for more information or contact: Remember success does leave clues and we just may have the clue you need to propel your continued success.

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