Burger King on Thursday revealed two new restaurant designs that offer a totally "touchless" experience, along with solar panels, conveyor belts that deliver orders to customers and outdoor seating.
The Restaurant Brands International chain is the latest restaurant company to announce permanent changes to its locations after the coronavirus pandemic transformed consumer behavior. Drive-thru visits increased by 26% in April, May and June, according to data from the NPD Group.
"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," Restaurant Brands' Chief Operating Officer Josh Kobza said in a statement. "We took into consideration how consumer behaviors are changing and [how] our guests will want to interact with our restaurants."
The company said the first new designed restaurants will be built next year in Latin America, the Caribbean and Miami, where Burger King is headquartered.
The new designs require about 60% less square footage than a traditional Burger King restaurant, making it ideal for urban areas with plenty of drivers. The two-floor Next Level design includes up to three drive-thru lanes to the locations, with one lane specifically for delivery drivers. The Your Way concept features just two lanes but adds a walk-up window for takeout orders.
The Burger King Your Way design features a shaded outdoor patio for on-premise dining. Customers can also opt to park their cars under solar-powered canopies and have their Whoppers and fries delivered right to their cars after scanning a QR code at their parking spot and placing their order on Burger King's mobile app.
At a Next Level restaurant, customers can eat their food in a dining room that juts above the drive-thru lanes to maximize square footage.
Next Level's kitchens will also overhang above the drive-thru, with conveyor belts that deliver orders to those customers.
Curbside pickup and mobile pickup lockers will be available at both types of restaurant. Customers can notify employees of their arrival through the restaurant's app.