Hmm. Normally I am very gung-ho about any new restaurant developments, particularly those involving bread or sandwiches, but the parent company of Taco Bell is testing a Banh Mi concept, and I just don’t know about this.
According to Business Insider, Yum! Brands–which owns Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC–is opening a new restaurant called Banh Shop in Dallas outside Southern Methodist University. It will specialize in Asian sandwiches, specifically banh mi, which are usually characterized by pickled vegetables and cilantro on deliciously crusty French baguettes. The sandwiches are wonderful and treasured and were the hipster food trend of the year not too long ago, but they’re also easy to do badly, and one can’t help but wonder what the people who came up with the Doritos Locos Taco would do when confronted with the Vietnamese snack.
I suppose this idea could work. (I should point out that I am an incurable optimist and believe almost every idea could work.) Banh mi are normally a fast food, so there’s no reason they couldn’t work as a quick-service concept here. The bread, of course, will be key. Without a crispy baguette, the banh mi loses much of its charm. But in spite of my endless optimism, I cannot shake the image of a handful of pickles stuffed inside a Doritos-flavored bread smothered in melted cheese and some kind of non-spicy “chili” mayonnaise.
Then again, Business Insider says Yum Brands has been experimenting with other restaurant concepts because sales have been dropping at fast-food restaurants across the board, which could indicate that the Banh Shop prototype could be testing as a fast-casual concept, not a quick-service restaurant at all. That would mean they intend it to be more like a Chipotle or a Panera than another Taco Bell, which really could work. As with all restaurants, Banh Shop’s success will depend a lot on the execution. And on not stuffing things in Doritos.
(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)