So… this is what is to be the new post-pandemic architectural design for new Burger King locations. It’s a nicely done video that thankfully avoids all the classic architecture mock-up imagery horrors by using straight CGI rendering:
Granted, the video first came out a month ago but now that it’s had a chance to percolate through the web the main reaction is how it puts cars at the forefront of the dining experience
Nowhere is that more evident than in a series of new stores Burger King plans to start building next year—where the car is treated like royalty.Fast Company
These new concept restaurants will have not only a drive-in section, but curbside delivery, food lockers for to-go orders, and a multiple-lane drive-thru. Welcome to the future!She Finds
The idea of consumers using restaurants in an off-premise setting isn’t likely going away when the pandemic subsides. That’s why several chains have enhanced their restaurant designs to cater to increased digital/carryout/delivery orders and that’s also why the drive-thru has garnered much attention.Forbes
Having the entire experience be almost touchless from beginning to end is bound to be a huge change for the vast majority of customers but it is just another step for the company to try and maintain its profitability on the face of an extended pandemic that shows no sign of letting up in the United States. I can’t help but keep thinking about how it puts the car as the end-all, be-all of fast food dining experiences just as most cities are reconsidering the role of motorized vehicles as part of city life. Consider:
- Minneapolis bans new drive-thrus, MPR News, August 9, 2019.
- Why U.S. Cities Are Banning New Fast-Food Drive-Throughs, NPR, October 10, 2019.
- As More Cities Ban Drive-Thrus, A Look at Fast Food History, The Great Courses Daily, October 15, 2019.
It would seem this new evolution of drive-thru restaurants will have to convince city officials not just here in the US but all over the world that it has a place within city limits. I’m not sure most progressive politicians will agree.
Another thought— I know for a fact a lot of restaurants become meeting points for the communities they are in. New Burger King locations with this architecture will not be part of the community they are built in. What about old locations? Are they to be remodeled, leaving behind the communities that emerged from them?
Then there are the employees. I certainly do not see company leadership willingly giving them higher wages even if they’re working in what are certain to be flagship locations. A fair amount of employees do have a regular clientele they like interacting with and this is just taking that away.
Perhaps it’s what just happened but I am having a hard time finding anything to celebrate with this change. It could be good for the company but it certainly feels like everyone around these drive-thru locations will lose.
Tomorrow, the car will be king! Wonder if they’ll be able to share a single throne.