Operations

Tim Hortons U.S. is the latest to try a seatless prototype

The company unveiled a 900-square-foot drive-thru-only location among its new designs, which also include a larger version with a 24-seat dining room.
Tim Hortons no seats
Photo courtesy of Tim Hortons

The latest restaurant chain to reveal the concept of a seatless restaurant is Tim Hortons.

The coffee chain’s U.S. market on Monday revealed a pair of new prototypes designed to improve speed and convenience. They feature a 900-square-foot drive-thru-only model as well as a larger, 1,600-square-foot version that features 24 seats.

The first drive-thru-only models are expected to open this summer in several states, including West Virginia, Ohio, Michigan and New York.

The design comes as a growing number of restaurant chains introduce new prototypes with an eye on a technology-focused, takeout-centric future. Companies ranging from the sandwich chain Schlotzsky’s to giants like McDonald’s and Starbucks are toying with concepts that reduce interior seating while providing a variety of options for access, including lanes for mobile order pickup and walk-up windows.

The Mexican chain Taco Bell on Tuesday opened its four-lane, takeout-only concept in suburban Minneapolis that includes a vertical lift system that delivers mobile orders to cars in three of its four lanes.

Tim Hortons’ new prototype features mobile order pick-up shelves and parking spots for mobile-order customers. The menu itself is simplified, with new items including energy drinks and refreshers as well as popular items like Iced Capps, Timbits, breakfast sandwiches and doughnuts.

The restaurants “are designed for an even more convenient guest experience with a drive-thru-only model that maximizes drive-thru efficiency and speed of service so you can get your morning brew without any hassle,” the company said in a release.

UPDATE: This story has been to clarify that first drive-thru-only locations will open this summer. 

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