Taco Bell goes back to the drawing board in Kahului

Owners say planned transformation part of long-range goals

Piles of debris are all that remain of Kahului Taco Bell on Thursday morning. The owners are rebuilding the restaurant with plans to reopen by June. The Maui News / MELISSA TANJI photo

KAHULUI — Central Maui residents craving late-night Crunchwraps will have to drive to Kihei or Lahaina for now, as Taco Bell demolishes and rebuilds its Kahului location.

Taco Bell’s owners said they hope to have the restaurant along Kamehameha Avenue up and running by June. The building was torn down this week and construction crews were seen removing rubble Thursday.

The restaurant is being rebuilt in accordance with an “asset transformation plan” that started a few years ago, said Leah Allen, marketing director for TD Food Group Inc. on Oahu, whose ownership and operations include Hawaii’s Taco Bell and Pizza Hut restaurants.

TD is also a subsidiary of Restaurant Brands of Hawaii Ltd.

“We are excited to bring these new builds to Hawaii featuring all new decor and the latest technology, including digital menu boards and kiosk ordering stations,” Allen said Thursday.

Taco Bell is open for business Thursday afternoon at the Kukui Mall in Kihei after relocating from the Azeka Shopping Center. The company also demolished its Kahului location with plans to reopen in June. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

On Oahu last year, at least two Taco Bells were upgraded and reopened, including the Wahiawa location that now includes the digital menu board and kiosk ordering stations, according to TD Food Group’s website.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many restaurants have been shifting to digital menus and other technology to limit contact between customers and staff.

While the Kahului Taco Bell is rebuilt, the food chain will continue to operate in its new location at Kukui Mall in Kihei, which features a drive-thru and also serves breakfast, Allen said. The old location at the Azeka Shopping Center that recently closed did not have a drive-thru.

Longtime Maui residents will recognize the new Kihei restaurant in the old Local Motion store site at Kukui Mall, which has been welcoming in some new tenants in recent months.

In late November, Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar also moved from down the street to the northern portion of Kukui Mall.

Most Kahului Taco Bell employees are working temporarily out of the Kihei site while “a few” are working at the Taco Bell in Lahaina, Allen added.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at mtanji@mauinews.com.


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