Burger King Debuts Touchless Restaurant Concept

BK's 'Restaurant of Tomorrow' will debut in 2021

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Need to Know

  • Burger King’s “Restaurant of Tomorrow” design features dedicated curbside delivery parking spots, pickup lockers, and multi-lane drive-thrus, among other contactless options.
  • The new restaurants, which will be 60% smaller than ordinary Burger Kings, are aimed at making the customer experience more comfortable during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Burger King will debut the new design at restaurants opening in 2021 in Miami, the Caribbean, and Latin America.
  • Both Taco Bell and Chipotle recently launched similar concept restaurants designed to prioritize order-ahead.

Analysis

Burger King has unveiled a new restaurant concept design that caters to customers seeking an increasingly contact-free dining experience during the coronavirus pandemic.

The fast-food chain’s “Restaurant of Tomorrow” design, which it debuted on Thursday, was created by parent company Restaurant Brands International’s in-house design group. The design features a dedicated curbside delivery drive-in lane, where customers can pick up wait for pre-orders made on the Burger King app. Additionally, the new restaurants will have pickup lockers, also for pre-orders; multi-lane drive-thrus, including one that is dedicated to delivery drivers; and an outdoor walk-up pickup window.

Burger King’s new restaurants will be 60% smaller than the chain’s average location, due to less dine-in space, plus a suspended kitchen. Drive-thru customers will have their orders delivered to their cars from a conveyor belt system that is attached to this kitchen. Additionally, there will be a covered outdoor seating area where customers can dine. The emphasis overall will be on the ease of ordering ahead via Burger King’s app.

Burger King’s new concept focuses on order-ahead.

“In March our in-house design and tech team accelerated new restaurant design plans and pushed the limits of what a Burger King restaurant could be,” Josh Kobza, COO of Restaurant Brands, said in a statement. “We took into consideration how consumer behaviors are changing and our guests will want to interact with our restaurants. The result is a new design concept that is attractive to guests and will allow our franchisees to maximize their return.”

Burger King’s Restaurant of Tomorrow unveil comes just weeks after Taco Bell, which is also part of the Restaurant Brands portfolio, revealed its “Go Mobile” concept. Similar to the Burger King design, Taco Bell’s planned, smaller-footprint restaurants will feature two drive-thru lanes, including one that’s dedicated to mobile pre-orders, pickup shelves, tablet ordering, and curbside pickup.

Restaurant Brands has posted a substantial revenue dip for Q2 of 2020: the company was down 25% compared to a year earlier, with Burger King in particular posting same-store sales declines of 13.4%. But the conglomerate is ramping up its digitally-focused efforts in an attempt to regain some market share and has reopened about 93% of its locations globally since the initial wave of lockdowns prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Burger King’s Restaurant of Tomorrow design will debut at restaurants opening in Miami, the Caribbean, and Latin America next year.

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