Burger King announced today that it will be building new restaurants to meet the demands of the pandemic — by limiting person-to-person contact and eliminating the need to go inside.
The first new restaurants are set to open in Miami, Latin America, and the Caribbean in 2021, with a design focused on multiple ordering and delivery methods and a reduced physical footprint.
The innovative eateries will have dedicated areas for curbside pickup, walk-up ordering, and drive-thru, as well as outdoor seating and food lockers where customers can retrieve their app-purchased meals straight from the kitchen.
The chain said in a press release today that tech, operations, and food innovation teams all weighed in on the design, which was created by the Restaurant Brands International in-house design group.
Overall, the restaurants have a physical footprint 60 per cent smaller than a traditional Burger King, and are outfitted with several new features intended to meet the demands of a changing world.
While customers can still walk inside, order their food, and eat, there are quite a few options that allow customers to limit their contact with others and remain outdoor or in their vehicles.
One highlight includes an outdoor-facing walk-up ordering window, where customers can order and pick up food without going inside.
The drive-thru section has been expanded, with double or even triple lanes for pulling up to order to keep things running quickly. Food is delivered via conveyor belt.
The new features in Burger King’s ‘touchless’ restaurants
At some restaurants, customers will be able place their orders under solar-powered canopies, where they can stay and eat.
There’s also a curbside pickup area for customers who order ahead on the app. After purchasing, customers can pull up into a pickup spot, and notify the restaurant that they’ve arrived through the app. Employees then bring the food out to the car.
An alternative to curbside pickup are Burger King’s new pickup lockers, where guests can grab the food straight from the kitchen after ordering through the app.
For those who want to stay and eat, there is both a traditional indoor dining room and a patio with outdoor seating.
In a statement the brand explained that ‘the design of this restaurant allows a 100 per cent touchless experience’.
‘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, Restaurant Brands International Chief Operating Officer, said in a press release.
‘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.’
‘The designs we’ve created completely integrate restaurant functionality and technology. The restaurant of the tomorrow merges the best functional technology with unique modern design to elevate our Burger King guest experience,’ added Rapha Abreu, Global Head of Design at Restaurant Brands International.
‘We designed the interior and exterior spaces like we had a blank sheet of paper, designing without preconceived notions of how a Burger King restaurant should look.’