As we look to the future of restaurant operations and its implications on construction and design, QSRs have learned a few fundamental truths. As consumer habits work in favor of an economic rebound, independent restaurants and corporations alike need to instill practices that support the return to normal. Food service buildings’ footprints and interior design are shifting to minimize touchpoints and provide a “Restaurant of Tomorrow” model with new pickup and curbside options for safety.
I recently discovered a Construction Dive article expanding on Burger King’s new prototypes for future locations – boasting a 100% touchless operation. In my opinion the aesthetic value was there, and according to the brief, sustainability is a large component as well. Complete with a drive-in feature, one of the models will allow guests to park under solar-powered canopies and place orders through an app. Another of the designs (there are two developed), allows for a kitchen to utilize a conveyor belt system to deliver food to cars parked in the pick-up lanes. There is also a third drive-thru option dedicated to delivery orders (DoorDash, UberEATS, etc.)
For those wishing to sit down and eat, there is a shaded patio area integrated for outdoor dining. Amongst this, there are coded lockers for retrieval of mobile/delivery orders and an external walk-up window as an ordering point.
The Construction Dive piece suggests that BK was considering some upgrades to drive-thru before COVID, however now the focus has switched. Like many other eating establishments, BK sales took a hit this year. The organization believes a design prioritizing off-premise channels could help bridge the gap from lost sales.
Some of these videos are stunning (and quite honestly, unlike anything I’ve ever seen):