The Next Evolution of Restaurant Design from the Industry Leaders

The Next Evolution of Restaurant Design from the Industry Leaders

Dec 07, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has made a deep and long-standing impact in almost every facet of our lives, and this impact has induced monumental changes in just about every industry we have, maybe none more so than the restaurant industry. Restaurants are being required to switch gears at a very fast pace and adjust their strategies in order to accommodate the transformation of the food industry and the requirements of customers because of it. Their new focus is almost entirely based on digitalization, efficiency, safety and offering more convenient ‘To-Go’ options for their customers. Restaurants are drifting away from dine-in services, and we’re seeing the footprint of restaurant properties being reduced on average by about 30%, with a key focus on the drive-thru, mobile ordering and curbside pickup. 

As a key drive-thru and transaction window supplier for restaurants all around the country, Quikserv has a vested interest in some of the fascinating new restaurant designs that will support this next step of evolution in the industry. We’re excited to see the incorporation of our windows in these sleek new restaurant designs, and we are proud to see how they can help our customers.Keep reading to get a closer look at these designs.

Burger King

With a fresh design for their stores announced this past September, Burger King and sister brand, Tim Hortons are looking to modernize over 10,000 of their drive-thrus. Burger King currently has over 6,500 drive-thrus in the US; In 2019 the drive-thru represented two thirds of their total sales but in the 3rd quarter of 2020 are now generating 85% of their total sales. 

The new designs will include a fully contactless service model, and the modern design for the drive-thru is intended to provide efficient and more effective contactless service for customers. The new design will include multiple drive-thru lanes, curbside pickup and lockers for mobile pick-up. New digital screens will have predictive selling and options tailored to  customer’s preferences which are based on historical ordering, and will also integrate with their loyalty program to allow contactless payment that will speed up service in the drive thru lanes.

Click the links below to get an in-depth 360º of Burger King’s new design: 

Click to watch ‘Burger King – Restaurant of Tomorrow I’ Video 

Click to watch ‘Burger King – Restaurant of Tomorrow II’ Video 



This month McDonald’s unveiled their new growth strategy called “Accelerating the Arches” which includes three growth pillars:

Maximizing Marketing: Invest in new, culturally relevant approaches to effectively communicate the story of the brand, food and purpose.

Commit to the Core: Tap into customer demand for the familiar and focus on delicious burgers, chicken and coffee. 

Double Down on The D’s (Digital,Delivery and Drive-thru): Leverage competitive strengths and build a powerful digital experience growth engine that provides a fast, easy experience for customers.

95% of McDonald’s restaurants in the US feature a drive-thru and they have over 25,000 drive-thru’s worldwide. McDonald’s expects that many aspects of their future design will reach more than 10,000 restaurants in time.

With the new design, customers will be able to select the most convenient form of order fulfillment whether it be delivery, drive thru, pick up or curbside pickup. Their new strategy centers on personalization and convenience which includes modern and user-friendly technologies in their mobile ordering, digital ordering kiosks, digital menu boards, flexible payment options, delivery and reward systems and predictive selling technology with customized displays in the drive-thru.

Their restaurants will be able to provide a way to alert employees when customers are nearby to ensure a quick pick-up process. There will be a passerby lane in the drive-thru which will allow customers using the McDonald’s app to skip the line. Their new restaurant design will have a smaller footprint than the current design and provides a key focus on the drive-thru and takeaway options. Many of the stores may have limited to no dine-in seating. 

Click the links below to see an in-depth view of McDonald’s new restaurant design:

Click to watch ‘McDonald’s – We’re exploring the Drive Thru Express Pick up’ Video 

Click to watch ‘McDonald’s – The future of Drive-Thru, with speed and efficiency at the center’ Video


Shake Shack

Shake Shack is headed in a completely new direction with aggressive plans to expand its stores with a multi-format and diversified portfolio of new restaurant designs to better serve customers. Their very first drive thru is planned for opening in 2021. The new design will be offering “Shake Tracks” which include pickup and drive-up windows (not drive-thru) for digitally placed orders. 

Half of the new restaurants that Shake Shack plans to open will include a drive-up or walk-up window with the other half to include a combination of pick-up, curbside or dedicated courier delivery pickup areas. 

Taco Bell

Taco Bell is yet another example of a restaurant that is designing their new restaurants to emphasize the drive-thru and provide contactless service.

Their restaurants will be looking to reduce the size of the dining area and will include a second drive-thru lane dedicated to pick-up orders made on it’s new launched app. The app is actually a key part of the new restaurant design to allow customers to order their food in advance. 

The new restaurants will also include curbside pickup for contactless pickup and ‘bellhops’ who will be standing outside taking customer orders on tablets.



Wendy’s, which has been seeing more positive sales results in the pandemic relative to some of its rivals, has seen the highest global same-store sales performance in more than 15 years. It also launched its new breakfast menu this year, which is showing positive sales and awareness in the market. 

No designs have been released as of yet but they have strongly hinted that they are looking at developing a new style of drive-thru only restaurants, and with rumblings or announcements of their fast-food restaurant competitors looking to do the same, it would not be surprising to see them in the  near future.

Texas Roadhouse

In addition to the quick serve restaurants mentioned above, dine-in restaurants are also designing their buildings to have the means to provide more ‘To-Go’ options, including Texas Roadhouse. 

Texas Roadhouse operates over 600 restaurants and has placed more emphasis on it’s “To-Go” program offering drive-up models and curbside service for many of it’s locations. It’s currently undergoing a massive renovation for many of it’s restaurants by incorporating a walk-up and/or pickup window. 


Fazoli’s is progressing with unprecedented nationwide development, and has swiftly pivoted to accommodate changes in the industry by offering new store concepts that include a double drive-thru only concept with no dine-in seating.

Captain D’s 

Captain D’s is currently developing a 960 square foot prototype which will not include a dining room but will focus on to-go orders only. The new concept, appropriately named D’s Express, is expected to open in mid-2021. They have more than 530 restaurants. The new Express design will have a drive-thru window on one side for orders and payment and a window on the opposite side for delivery of the food and also walk-up windows.

As you can see, fast-food restaurants all across the country are looking to adapt with the changing of the times, and it seems like the use of digital ordering, expedited pickup lanes, and drive-thru only locations is the direction that new trends are going. As a supplier of quality drive-thru windows to these businesses, Quikserv is following suit with these trends, and looking to adapt our quality and brand to the changing of times. Contact one of our Drive-Thru Window experts for more information on a window for your restaurant by emailing or give us a call at 1.800.388.8307.

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