Taco Bell applies for liquor license in Chicago
(CBS NEWS) Yum Brands' (YUM) Taco Bell may soon ask diners not only to \"live más\" but \"drink más,\" too.
The Mexican-themed fast-food chain has applied for a liquor license at a soon-to-open location in Chicago, according to Nation's Restaurant News, a trade publication. While Taco Bell didn't immediately return a request from CBS MoneyWatch for comment, it confirmed the liquor license application to Nation's Restaurant News.
If the application is approved, Taco Bell would join Mexican food rivals such as Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) that already serve alcoholic beverages. Still, for many family-focused fast-food brands, alcohol has remained firmly off the menu.
But in recent years, Taco Bell has been focused on grabbing younger diners by expanding its breakfast options and tapping social media and digital platforms, moves that have helped it gain Millennial diners. Adding margaritas or other drinks could add to that appeal.
Testing a new menu item at one or a handful of locations is standard protocol for fast-food restaurants because it allows executives to see how their customers react without spending huge sums on a risky national rollout.
McDonald's (MCD), for instance, recently said it would test all-day breakfast at some San Diego locations. Like Taco Bell, McDonald's is also aiming at Millennials' wallets, given the generation is now America's biggest, even surpassing the baby boomers. Millennials are especially interested in ordering breakfast at any time of the day.
The location where Taco Bell may start selling alcoholic drinks is in Chicago's Wicker Park area, which Forbes has called one of the country's hippest hipster neighborhoods.
The Wicker Park location will feature a \"completely new urban restaurant design,\" according to Nation's Restaurant News. Taco Bell plans to open a number of new restaurants in urban locations with hip designs, such as creating stores from shipping containers or creating restaurants with open kitchens.
\"I know a lot of people are talking about creating modern fast-food brands, and a lot are trying. But we're already on our way,\" Taco Bell CEO Brian Niccol told the publication in March. \"We're continuing to move Taco Bell into its own category.\"