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Fast Food Hit-Or-Miss Restaurants

Taco Bell Totally Revamps Their Restaurants With These New Designs

When I was a small human, we had a Taco Bell right down the street from us that my family would go to at least once a week or two. My parents were in love with that place, and still are. They’re not huge on fast food, but they ain’t mad at Taco Bell. Contrary to popular belief, my family’s obsession with Taco Bell has not caused any rectal harm above and beyond the standard muddy runs from time to time, a small price we’re willing to pay.

The thing I remembered most about the Taco Bell was the pueblo-style walls and the arch at the top with the infamous bell listlessly swinging from side to side below it. That Mission Revival style and look was iconic, and was a part of the company’s image for well over a decade. Well, Taco Bell has decided to try and recreate that memorable appearance by introducing four new designs to their stores’ look: Urban Edge, Heritage, Modern Explorer and California Sol.

  • Urban Edge – This design represents an eclectic mix of international and street style. This style is inspired by timeless design coupled with elements of the urban environment.Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 11.34.59 AM
  • Heritage – Inspired by its culinary roots in Mexican-inspired food with a twist, this style is a modern interpretation of Taco Bell’s original Mission Revival style characterized by warm white walls with classic materials in the tile and heavy timbers.Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 11.36.34 AM
  • Modern Explorer – This rustic modern style is a refined version of the brand’s Cantina Explorer restaurants and can easily fit into a suburban or rural environment. This look is inspired by the farms that make the food.Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 11.36.00 AM
  • California Sol – Inspired by Taco Bell’s California roots and the California lifestyle, this design blurs the lines between indoor and outdoor. It’s a celebration of dining al fresco and embraces a laidback beachy feel both inside and out.Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 11.35.28 AM

To be completely honest, I’m a bit baffled that these changes are so subtle and miniscule. I can always appreciate some nice subtlety, but in a situation like this, being more exuberant and grandiose would have been much more appealing in my opinion.  I could probably find more differences between the two similar pictures in a Highlights magazine. While the small changes are nice, they’re simply…boring.

These new designs will be implemented into four different Taco Bell locations in Orange County, initially as a trial run, and will be reopened to the public this summer.

Categories
Features

The 11 Worst Things About Every Grocery Store in Existence

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For all the magic contained in its automatic doors — the free samples, snacks, the Luna bars you definitely don’t eat, the super fun coin-operated horsey machine — going to the grocery store can be a huge headache… a non-stop barrage of cart traffic jams, blank-faced zombies trying to operate the self-checkout, and horrible temptations. These are the reasons you resent the grocery store, making it barely worth it to get on that horsey and have the gdam best time of your life.

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The Produce Section

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You’ve decided you want to try vegetables… good for you. Just get ready to get wet as the auto-waterers spray out of control and hit you in the eye. Some stores try to be cute and play thunder-noises as the rain falls, which is either annoying or terrifying. Worse still, the wetness makes it impossible to open the little plastic bags you’re supposed to throw your tomatoes in. Between that and shaking from thunder fears, you’re screwed.

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The Center-Aisle Dominator

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We can sympathize with the plight of choosing between so many pasta sauce options (Italian sausage w/ garlic? Just straight up SpaghettiOs?), but that doesn’t mean you need to park your cart perpendicular to the aisles smack-dab in the middle, blocking the flow, and forcing us to make a detour into the next aisle full of impulse buys like Luna bars.

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The Expiring Items Trap

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Hell yes you’re gonna buy 36 donuts for $1, especially when they’re right next to the checkout to remind you that you totally forgot to buy 36 regular-priced donuts. But you get in the car and discover they’re going to expire in an half-hour. Time for a donut-eating binge… waste not, want not.

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Aisle Gentrification

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Beans are beans. Except when they’re refried, in which case they’re not allowed to hang out with baked beans or limas, and instead are put way across the store in the “Latin” section. And lord forbid spaghetti share an aisle w/ yakisoba noodles. They’re in the “Asian” section. The grocery store is a textbook example of gentrification gone wild.

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Bag Shame

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Want a clerk at Whole Foods to look at you as though you spent your morning pouring gas on a burlap sack full of kittens? Ask for a paper bag to carry your stuff. You’ll be charged $.05, but the leering condescension is an even stiffer penalty. Next time, consider re-using that burlap sack.

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The Cell Phone Wanderer

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Because there’s no better time to answer a random call than right this minute, this species of jackass will immediately abandon his cart in the middle of an aisle, then spend 15 minutes wandering around the store, picking up random crap, looking at it, and putting it back as he talks about everything from socks to weekend plans. It’s best to relocate his cart for him, then track him as he gets even more confused and frustrated.

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Cart Clog

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Even the most miniscule amount of debris can turn a normal cart into a squeaky-wheeled nightmare that simulates pushing a car through wet sand.

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The Temptation of Off-Brand Chips

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They’re $1 less than the real deal, and there are 499 different variations on them, so why not try the Fauxritos to see if they match up? Ugh. Nope. But you’re still gonna try 498 more times.

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The Self-Checkout Clusterfu*k

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The idea of self-checkout is an amazing way to make the experience of shopping quick, independent, and efficient. Sadly, its designers forgot to factor in the fact that people use them. Some ignore the 12-item limit and empty an entire cart. Others are buying 30 kinds of produce, and can’t figure out how to key in the bar code. Others just stand there, staring at the screen. Nobody notices the three express checkout lanes to the left manned by bored clerks.

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It’s So Cold!

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You expect to get chilly in the beer section, or while you’re scouring for the biggest bag of dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets. But even the blanket aisle is cold. How are blankets cold, unless they’re the delicious ones with pigs inside… like in the frozen section?

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Kids Carts

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Seriously, why can’t I fit into these?! Stupid kids have all the fun.

Brought to you by the folks at Thrillist

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

7-Eleven Gets Wooden Fruit Baskets and Aims for Millennials with Trader Joe-Esque Makeover

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Yep, the hipster aesthetic is officially dead. For years, we’ve watched corporate logos get ironed out, flashy signage be replaced with adorable handwritten chalkboards. Love distressed wood? Congratulations, here are 500+ restaurants whose tables came all the way from the Himalayas! Best of all, at least half of them are the same corporate chains you already know and love (*cough, McDonald’s, Starbucks).

7-Eleven is just the latest chain to trade in its depressing, cost-efficient white walls and linoleum in favor of something a little “friendlier.” In a series of new concept stores nicknamed “7-Eleven Next Generation,” gone are the logo’s familiar green, red, and orange stripes, the cramped aisles, and (hopefully) the flies in the pastry box. Instead, Ohio-based design firm WD Partners has ushered in a brand new, Trader Joe’s-y vibe to everyone’s favorite convenience store, and even we have to admit, home-store looks goooood.

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Design Taxi reports the redesign is meant to “reposition and rejuvenate” the brand and help it “better capture the millennial and female demographics.”

Which, okay, fine, makes sense. No one liked the gigantic stripes anyway, and picking fruit out of a wooden palette does seem quaint and farmer’s market-y. But maybe it’s still a little too trendy. Makes me miss the days when convenience stores sucked just the right amount to let you go inside willingly, but not want to spend more than five minutes there.

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Luckily, branding blog Brand New reports there isn’t any indication this concept will be rolled out to all 7-Eleven (sorry, 7eleven) locations any time soon — just a few in New York’s Financial District and Chicago. So for now, let’s all continue to chug down our giant Slurpees in our oversized, MJ-scented hoodies. Quick, before the chicks in the make-up and yoga pants come through.

H/T Design Taxi + PicThx Brand New