Retail Leaders Launch Vertical Works - A Disruptive Solutions Consultancy

New Taco Bell Defy, an innovative quick service restaurant concept designed by Vertical Works, set to open in 2022

Vertical Works reimagined the traditional drive thru to provide all of the convenience of fast food without long lines and wait times. (Photo: Business Wire)

MINNEAPOLIS--()--In a first of its kind partnership merging design, manufacturing and construction, Vertical Works brings together designers from Minneapolis-based WORKSHOP, PD Instore and Engelsma Construction to concept and build industry-leading solutions for quick serve restaurants, healthcare, retail and beyond. With decades of diverse experience working with top brands like Google, Apple and Target, the Vertical Works team brings a brand new approach to solving design and building challenges.

Introducing Hi-Top™

Vertical Works founders believe that fear of execution should not get in the way of transformative ideas. To that end, they recently unveiled Hi-Top™ - a proprietary new retail concept that unites the best aspects of in-store shopping, home delivery and traditional drive-thrus to create a brand new way to shop. By stacking operations over pick-up aisles and delivering retail goods and food via a lift system, Hi-Top creates a safe, efficient and memorable consumer experience. The Hi-Top concept also addresses many of the challenges of current models of in-store pick-up, home delivery and traditional drive-thrus.

Taco Bell Defy

Set to open in Summer of 2022, the new Taco Bell Defy - a brand new restaurant concept from Taco Bell - will feature Vertical Works-licensed design and technology. Taco Bell Defy reinvents the traditional drive-thru experience to deliver the convenience of fast food without many of the issues of traditional drive-thrus. The new Taco Bell Defy will feature an elevated kitchen, with food delivered to customers contact-free via a proprietary lift system. In addition, multiple drive-thru lanes -- paired with integrated ecommerce channels -- will eliminate long lines of cars, and lanes dedicated specifically for pickup and delivery services ensure food is delivered to customers as fast as possible.

“Vertical Works helped us bring together design and technology to create the quick service restaurant of the future,” said Lee Engler, CEO of Border Foods - one of the largest Taco Bell franchisees in the country. “Taco Bell Defy’s unique design will allow us to serve significantly more customers with a footprint that is smaller or equal to that of our existing stores, all with the safety and convenience today’s consumer expects.”

Understanding Today’s Consumer

“The Vertical Works team has more than 20 years of experience working in the retail industry, and we understand - and are at the forefront - of the evolving needs of consumers. We collaborate with our partners to create innovative solutions that lead rather than follow industry trends,” said Mike Strommen, Vertical Works co-founder and CEO of PD Instore.

“By reimagining traditional retail and fast food experiences, we can create new solutions that better fit the needs of today’s consumer,” said Josh Hanson, co-founder of Vertical Works and WORKSHOP. “Shopping, returns, food delivery and more can become faster and easier, while at the same time increasing store profitability.”

About Vertical Works Inc.

Vertical Works is a disruptive solutions consultancy powered by designers and makers from WORKSHOP, PD Instore, and Engelsma Construction. Vertical Works merges design, manufacturing, and construction to concept and build industry-leading solutions for quick-serve restaurants, retail, healthcare, and beyond.

About PD Instore

Limited only by how big brands can dream, PD Instore is uniquely equipped to handle design, production, logistics and installation of displays, fixtures and full retail environments, as well as creative and mechanical design, printing (Litho, Screen, Die-Sub & Digital) with just about any material imaginable -- allowing for agile solutions scalable to any scenario. As a front-end partner, PD finds the most cost-effective, executable solutions to connect the world's leading brands with shoppers.


WORKSHOP is a design consultancy studio that creates what's next. We push forward with curiosity, experimentation, and iterative thinking. We partner with visionaries, industry leaders and people who want to do more with us. Our services include strategic direction & creative concepting, retail & experience design, digital marketing, web design & user experience, and much more.


Emily Wozniak – Vertical Works, WORKSHOP®

Release Summary

In a first of its kind partnership, the designers behind the new Taco Bell Defy are launching Vertical Works - a disruptive solutions consultancy.

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Emily Wozniak – Vertical Works, WORKSHOP®