Consumer requirements and expectations have changed, and Burger King is getting radical in an attempt to meet them.


With the restrictions being placed on businesses in order to be able to serve their consumers, some restauranteurs have, or are in the process of, redesigning their spaces to accommodate the new way business is being conducted.

The possible avenues for QSR’s to interact with the public are:

  • Drive-Thru
  • Drive-In
  • Walk-Up
  • Online
  • Curbside
  • Dine-In (inside/outside)

Of these, most states currently are still either limiting the number of guests for dining On-Premise (in some cases for outdoor seating only) or eliminating On-Premise dining entirely.

To maximize their exposure to all the possible business avenues, Burger King has developed two restaurant designs to address the different methods their customers can use. The new designs are such that all of the above avenues, except for Dine-In on the second design, were taken into account and incorporated input from their tech, operations and food innovation teams.

The new designs consider features that are needed now and can be utilized in the “New Normal” following the pandemic:

  • Drive-Thru – A double or triple drive thru features digital menu boards and merchandising. The multi-lane ordering and pick-up expedites the process, while a living wall frames the guest’s view into the kitchen interior, featuring the iconic Burger King An external walk up window on the glass facade will also be an alternative ordering point for take-out.
  • Drive-In – Guests will be able to park their cars in the drive-in area under solar powered canopies, place their orders through the BK® App by scanning a QR code at their parking spot, and have food quickly delivered to their cars.
  • Online – Pick up lockers are provided for mobile and delivery orders that can be picked up from coded food lockers facing the exterior of the restaurant. The food will come straight from the kitchen to the pick up lockers.
  • Walk-Up – A walk-up ordering window for those who have not ordered online and don’t wish to use the Drive-Thru or don’t have a vehicle.
  • Curbside Delivery – Advance orders placed through the mobile app will have dedicated parking spots for curbside delivery. Guests will be able to notify the restaurant team member upon arrival via the app as instructed on the parking signs.
  • On-Premise Dining – One design option replaces the traditional indoor dining room with a shaded patio featuring outdoor seating for guests who prefer to dine on-premise.

These new designs are to be built in 2021 in Miami, Latin America and the Caribbean. These designs have a 60% smaller footprint through the use of a suspended kitchen and dining areas above the drive-thru lanes.

According to Forbes, the drivers for these designs are:

  • A number of Burger King’s new design features leverage trends that have accelerated during the past year as customers were forced to stay home. New data from Rakuten Ready, for example, shows that order for pickup volume has increased by over 200% since March.
  • The idea of consumers using restaurants in an Off-Premise setting won’t likely go away when the pandemic subsides. That’s why several chains have enhanced their restaurant designs to cater to increased digital/carryout/delivery orders and that’s also why the Drive-Thru has garnered so much attention.
  • Even with a nearly 40% increased use of Drive-Thru’s in 2019 over 2018, in April, May and June of 2020, Drive-Thru visits increased by 26% and represented 42% of all restaurant visits, according to The NPD Group.

Other QSR’s have accelerated their plans as well:

  • New or increased Drive-Thru’s lanes include Taco Bell, Shake Shack (which currently have no Drive-Thru’s), Chipotle and Dunkin
  • Larger “on-the-go” pickup area
  • Walk-up windows

These plans being attributed to the growth of digital ordering (delivery or carryout), which Toast data shows that 29% of consumers now place an online order a few times a month, while 25% report they do so a few times a week. Burger King, with their new designs, are counting on this trend to continue long after the pandemic and into the “New Normal”.

In addition to other measures to combat the pandemic, understanding what motivates your customers to patronize your locations is key to building a winner strategy. If you’d like to discuss these ideas and other ways to improve your customer experience, let us know.