Operations

A look inside Burger King’s new post-COVID restaurant design

The smaller restaurant has more drive-thru lanes, drive-in spots and pickup lockers.
Burger King redesign
Photo courtesy of Burger King

Burger King’s latest restaurant design assumes that customers will not go back to dine-in service

It’s not as if the Miami-based burger chain’s latest prototype doesn’t feature indoor seats. But its restaurants are 60% smaller, meaning a much smaller dining room. And one version of it replaces the dining room altogether with patio seating.

But the design is heavy on takeout options, an acknowledgement that consumers have been shifting that way for some time and then went all-in on takeout during the pandemic. It features two or three drive-thru lanes, with digital menu boards and merchandising. A “living wall” provides a view into the kitchen interior featuring Burger King’s broiler. And there’s an external walkup window on the glass façade.

Above the drive-thru lanes is a suspended kitchen that is configured to reduce the building’s footprint. Orders are delivered from the kitchen through a conveyor belt system, and each drive-thru lane has its own pickup spot. The triple drive-thru design features a pickup lane specifically for delivery drivers.

Burger King’s new design also features a drive-in area with solar powered canopies for customers who order from the BK app, with curbside service. There are also pickup lockers for mobile or delivery orders.

“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, chief operating officer for Burger King parent company Restaurant Brands International. “We took into consideration how consumer behaviors are changing and our guests will want to interact with our restaurants.”

Burger King design

The first restaurants with the new design will be built next year in Miami, Latin America and the Caribbean. The plants feature input from the chain's technology, operations and food innovation departments.

“The designs we’ve created completely integrate restaurant functionality and technology,” Rapha Abreu, global head of design at RBI. “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.”

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