In my travels this week, I passed the Taco Bell Cantina that’s under construction at Harmon Corner. I took the picture above of the sign and was blown away by the incredibly positive response on Instagram and Twitter.
The mini-mall next to Planet Hollywood and across the street from the Cosmopolitan has a handful of restaurants and shops but nothing that anyone deems spectacular. Even though they’re successful businesses, national chains like Twin Peaks, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., McDonalds, Panda Express, Walgreens, etc. don’t really excite anyone visiting Las Vegas.
Taco Bell Cantina might seriously shake things up in a way I would never have expected. For starters, people love the idea of Taco Bell on the Vegas Strip. When they hear that this new quick-serve version of the fast food restaurant has booze, people begin to lose their collective minds. Taco Bell AND booze? HUZZAH! (You can read more about Taco Bell Cantinas here and the Las Vegas location here.)
Word on the street is that Taco Bell Cantina on the Vegas Strip will be open before Thanksgiving!
The arrival of Taco Bell Cantina reminds me of when White Castle opened their first restaurant in Las Vegas at Casino Royale last year. There was a two-hour line when White Castle first opened. While the lines aren’t as long today, there is always a wait to snag some sliders. Yippee?
This winter In N Out Burger will be opening its first restaurant on the Vegas Strip at The Linq. A couple of years ago Chili’s opened its first restaurant on the Vegas Strip across the street from Aria. Chain restaurants and fast food restaurants aren’t new to the Vegas Strip. The Denny’s restaurant at Casino Royale is one of the busiest in the country. Of course, there’s a Starbucks in just about every hotel too.
It almost appears as though the Vegas Strip is being taken over by chain restaurants. This trend doesn’t apply only to the Vegas Strip. Chain restaurants are expanding all over Las Vegas. There are now two Cracker Barrel restaurants in Las Vegas and there will be multiple Chick Fil A opening in the next year or so.
The influx of fast food and quick serve restaurants on the Vegas Strip makes a lot of sense. First and foremost tourists today enjoy brands that they’re familiar with. It could be a national chain brand or it could be a celebrity brand. You may have noticed the growing number of Gordon Ramsay restaurants now in Las Vegas. His fourth restaurant just opened at The Linq.
Additionally, these restaurants are popular because of the more moderate price points. The prices in traditional restaurants have been rapidly rising over the past few years. For example, lunch on the Vegas Strip at many full-service restaurants can cost around $20-$30 with a drink, tax, and tip. A similar lunch at a fast food or quick serve restaurant will cost somewhere around $10-$15.
Even though Vegas
snobs traditionalists (like me) don’t like the influx of chain stores and restaurants they’re extremely popular. Taco Bell Cantina might fill a niche that satisfies both types of people who visit Las Vegas. The person who likes familiar brands can find a restaurant they know and love. Meanwhile, the unique Cantina concept might satisfy those looking for something that’s unique to Las Vegas. Viva la Taco Bell Cantina!