Tyler will be getting two newly designed Taco Bell restaurants in the coming months.
The fast food restaurant at 3808 S. Broadway Ave. was an “ancient remodel of a previous concept,” said Chet Davis, vice president of R2 Restaurants. The building and parking lot were razed, and construction of the new facility began Dec. 30. He said it is expected to be completed after about 100 days of work, which would be about the first week of April.
Tyler-based R2 Restaurants owns the six Taco Bell restaurants in Tyler, as well as in Chandler, Lindale and Mineola.
Davis, 57, said he has been working in the Taco Bell business for nearly 38 years and has been with the local company for 17 years.
“Taco Bell in the last five years has really been on a roll,” he said. “I’m more excited about this business than I have been in the last 10 to 15 years.”
Davis said they have recently purchased land next to the Sonic on Old Jacksonville Highway, near the Grande Boulevard intersection. The Taco Bell there should begin construction this week and will take about 75 days, or around the middle of May, to complete.
Davis said they have sat at the Old Jacksonville location during the early mornings, lunch and dinner times, and the traffic counts are “off the charts,” so the location has a great deal of potential. Davis has heard a McDonalds also will be coming to the area, he said.
Davis said the newly constructed restaurants will feature Taco Bell’s new design and he believes the store on South Broadway Avenue will be the first one of its kind in East Texas.
“Tyler will get to see the newest of the new,” he said.
The restaurant will look more modern, with a trellis application and natural stone pillars. He said the new interior concept has a unique theme to it and compared it to a Disney World experience, like taking a trip.
“It’s designed to be an experience that’s unique in the fast-food industry,” he said. “We’re excited to get that building open.”
To build a typical Taco Bell costs $400,000 to $700,000, Davis said. But the new building design cuts costs of construction by $200,000 to $300,000 per restaurant. Because of the reduction, they are open to spend more money on properties that would have before been too expensive, he added.
There are two to three sites in developing areas of Tyler, as well as several smaller surrounding cities they are looking at for new restaurants, he said. They will have 10 Taco Bells open by the end of the year and hope to have another three to five open in the area within the next five years, he added.
Throughout the past several years, all of the other local Taco Bells have been renovated and brought up to Taco Bell’s 2013 image standard, Davis said, adding that about $500,000 has been spent refurbishing, renovating and buying new equipment for the local restaurants in the past 18 months.
He said that because of the work, the local franchisee has met all of Taco Bell’s standards to be eligible for growth so they plan to build more in the area.
R2 Restaurants has its offices in Tyler and the franchisee, who lives in Rockwall, has had the Tyler restaurants for 35 years or more, Davis said. What started as Shreveport-based JDS Restaurants divided into two companies, with R2 Restaurants keeping the Tyler stores.