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Taco Bell unveils its first shipping container store at SXSW

by Nicole Jewell, 03/18/15

That’ll be one sustainable chalupa, please! Taco Bell surprised many SXSW attendees this week by building a Taco Bell stand out of shipping containers

The modular structure was built in just three days and will be used as an experiment to see how the concept works as the iconic restaurant seeks to expand across the nation.

Although the original concept was to build a more elegantly designed pop-up structure, the Taco Bell team eventually opted for a more home-made style, eschewing a glossy finish for a more rustic look. “We started in a place that was exactly like Starbucks with all this wood on the side,” says Kati Gardiner, Manager of Brand Experience at Taco Bell.

“It was beautiful, but we lost the coolness.”

Related: How to Spice Up a Shipping Container Home

Although Taco Bell’s coolness factor may be debatable, one thing is for sure: the shipping container design will allow a lot of versatility in terms of space and efficiency. 

The modular SXSW structure was made out of three shipping container blocks, one for food prep, one for storage and operations and one that holds the cooling equipment. A few partial containers were welded onto the structure to provide a bathroom and a separate freezer space. There is no indoor dining space, but refinished wood pallets and giant wire spools offer outdoor seating space.

The SXSW structure is quite compact, but the modular design would permit the company to add more containers to the design, creating more prep line space and potential indoor dining areas.

After the SXSW event, the structure will be relocated to a undisclosed location, but it remains to be seen if Taco Bell will continue with the shipping container design for future restaurants.

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Alphonso (mango)
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It has considerable shelf life of a week after it is ripe making it exportable. 

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