Chain Restaurants Upcycled from Shipping Containers?

Taco Bell recently joined Starbucks (along with eco-friendly architects and hippie communes everywhere) in creating a pop-up store upcycled from disused shipping containers at the SXSW music and film festival in Austin, Texas.

I’ll admit it; I’m not really sure how I feel about this one; unless the fast food industry is planning on changing most of its ingredients as well. But hey, who hasn’t munched on the occasional midnight taco or 5am sausage and egg muffin?

On the plus side, the Taco Bell shipping container store took only 3 days to construct and represents half the carbon footprint of a regular store. And with the seemingly inevitable expansion of the industry, you certainly can’t fault them for trying!

Taco Bell is projected to open 2000 new locations over the next 6 years and is experimenting with new ways to tackle the carbon footprint and overhead costs of traditional stores. And shipping containers are actually an excellent way to do this.

Old containers a readily available, highly adaptable and modular and they can be transported to a completely different location in a matter of days.

The Taco Bell store at the SXSW festival used three simple containers painted in matte white, burnt orange and grey with a simple stencil-like store logo on the side. The first container houses the service and prep area, the second container serves as a back office and the third contains the cooling equipment.

Add a few outdoor dining tables upcycled from wooden pallets and giant wire spools- and viola!

The company says that because of the flexibility of the shipping containers, they could easily be designed to accommodate a second preparation area for staff, or even a drive-thru. Starbucks in Colorado dressed up their shipping container store with wood panelling made from old snow fencing (locally sourced of course!)

In fact, Starbucks Colorado was the unlikely recipient of a LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), which is a rating system developed by the US Green Building Council.

The Taco Bell pop-up shipping container store will be moving to a new mystery location after the festival and the company is yet to announce whether or not they will be expanding their fleet of upcycled stores. Stay tuned!

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