Tex-Mex chain, Taco Bell, is soon to open its first restaurant in Newcastle.
Despite concerns of increasing crime in the high street, the fast food restaurant won the battle to open doors on Grainger street and operate until midnight. The closing time of Newcastle’s Taco Bell became a matter of debate, as the Northumbria Police opposed the restaurant staying open until 1:30am arguing that it could increase drunken behaviour in the city centre. As a result of this opposition, the chain agreed to change its closing time from 1:30am to midnight just a few hours before Newcastle City Council’s final decision.
Nothumbria Police expressed their main concern that extended working hours of the chain might cause anti-social behaviour and late-night noise on Grainger street and even “morph into a takeaway” later than 11pm.
Despite that, lawyer Chris Grunert, representing Taco Bell, ensured that the restaurant will not operate as a late-night takeaway and presented evidence that similar Taco Bell in Leeds gains 70% of its revenue from customers dining in, instead of night deliveries.
Grunert claimed that Bigg Market’s area is already “vibrant” and Taco Bell wouldn’t cause additional hustle, especially as the restaurant will have a restricted alcohol sale. There will be just one type of beer available: Sol, as well as ‘Twisted Freeze’, a slush with a shot of alcohol. No alcohol will be offered as a takeaway and there will be only one drink served per meal.
Councillors agreed with Taco Bell’s application to operate as a restaurant rather than a takeaway and issued a premises license.
Weighing in on the debate, Yasmin Hailes, journalism student at Newcastle University shared: “There’s been a lot of discussion about the closing times of the restaurant. I think this is ridiculous, as it is a fast food chain after all, and who doesn’t love a takeaway after a night out? Drunk people will be around whether the restaurant closes early or late.”