Since the Covid-19 outbreak a lot of businesses has been hit hard and in restaurant industry, we have seen many restaurants closing down permanently. In July ABCNews reported the permanent closure of almost 16,000 restaurants in US alone, citing from a study by Yelp. Meanwhile, in order to survive the current crisis, all businesses had to make some changes to the way they’re doing business and in restaurant industry, it looks like one of these changes implemented by restaurant chains is revamping the design of the restaurant.

Worries over the virus, strict lockdowns and disturbances on daily lives have radically altered customer behavior this year. For fast ordering and distribution, consumers downloaded restaurant applications while others headed to the drive-thru. As per NPD Group data, drive-thru visitors rose by 26 per cent in April, May and June.

Some restaurant businesses are speeding up efforts to upgrade their store designs with an emphasis on convenience. Starbucks, for instance, is planning to develop more mobile pickup coffee shops this year and 2021 than it had previously anticipated.

Some are seeking a more dramatic measure by implementing brand new concepts centered around how consumers bought or picked their food throughout the pandemic.

Below are the 3 restaurant chains which launched new pandemic-inspired designs:

Taco Bell

The newest iteration of the Yum Brands chain includes a dual drive-thru route and parking spaces reserved for contactless pick-up at the curbside.

taco bell restaurant chains
A rendering of a Taco Bell Go Mobile restaurant
Source: Taco Bell

“We have several franchisees wishing to expand the drive-thru space,” said Mike Grams, Taco Bell Global COO.

In the second quarter of Taco Bell, an extra 4.8 million vehicles were served by drive-thru lanes compared to the previous year, while its same-store sales fell by 8 per cent.

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The new “Go Mobile” concept will have indoor shelves where online orders are processed. Based on the market, the capacity of the dining rooms can vary. The kitchens will be filled with equipment that shows staff the best way to prepare, and demonstrates the quickest way of picking up the food to the client.

Shake Shack

shake shack restaurant chains
A rendering of Shake Shack’s drive-up window
Source: Aria Group

Early May, Shake Shack launched their new restaurants dubbed Shack Track.

The new model includes drive-up and walk-up windows that will be used for remote order picking. And the curbside delivery will become a regular option for clients searching for a contactless service. By the end of the year at least eight sites will get the latest design.

restaurant chains shake shack
A rendering of Shake Shack’s drive-thru lanes
Source: Zebra Projects

Shake Shack is now constructing the first-ever drive-thru lane, which will be opened in 2021 and will enable customers to place an order on the spot.

Burger King

burger king restaurant chains
A rendering of Burger King’s Next Level restaurant design
Source: Burger King

On Thursday, the Restaurant Brands International company launched two new restaurant concepts that need around 60 per cent less square footage than the typical Burger King restaurants.

The Next Level two-floor configuration provides up to 3 drive-thru lanes to the sites, with one lane exclusive to delivery vehicles. Its kitchen and indoor dining area jut out in space-saving construction measure over the drive-thru lanes. It also provides a walk-up slot for taking orders and parking spaces reserved for pick-up at the curbside.

restaurant chains burger king
Burger King’s Your Way restaurant design
Source: Burger King

The architecture of the Burger King Your Way includes only two drive-thru lanes, and a shaded outdoor patio for dining on site. Customers will also park their cars under solar-powered canopies and get their Whoppers and fries loaded straight into their cars after scanning the QR code at their parking place and placing their order on the mobile application of Burger King.

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We have to wait and see if other restaurant chains are going to follow this trend or we are going to see other changes in the future.


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