Chains Changing to Meet Digital Demands
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Chains Changing to Meet Digital Demands

Chains Changing to Meet Digital Demands

Fast-food chains are changing the designs of their buildings to meet the growing customer demand for convenience and digital orders in the post-Covid environment. For example, Chick-fil-A is introducing an elevated drive-thru, Captain D's is launching an express model for urban markets, and Taco Bell is focusing on digital touch points and efficient kitchen systems for store designs.

Chick-fil-A’s elevated drive-thru concept features four lanes that can accommodate up to 75 cars, catering to the increasing demand for digital orders. “So we know,” said Khalilah Cooper, the brand’s executive director of restaurant design, “our customers have an appetite for convenience.”

The elevated store will offer options for mobile app orders with dedicated lanes as well as traditional drive-thru lanes for in-person orders. The design features a larger kitchen capacity and an advanced food transport system to enhance the guest experience.

Captain D's is launching a third Express model restaurant. The prototype in St. Louis, Missouri, does not have a dining room. The building was designed for urban markets with limited space and emphasizes drive-thru and carryout service. This smaller, 960-square-foot prototype features a double drive-thru, walk-up windows, and a streamlined kitchen layout for quick service.

In addition to Express, there are 22- and 44-seat models designed to adapt to the increasingly competitive real estate market. Because of its compact footprint, Express models can reduce start-up costs by as much as 25%. A smaller footprint also means a streamlined workforce of 20–25 staff members.

Taco Bell is pursuing innovative store designs to reach its goal of 10,000 U.S. restaurants. The latest concept, which debuted in March in El Paso, Texas, focuses on digital touch points and convenience. It features outdoor pickup, grab-and-go shelves, dedicated parking for mobile orders, and no indoor dining. The concept also emphasizes back-of-house technology and efficient kitchen systems to improve employee efficiency. Elements of the El Paso location will be incorporated into future stores. 

 

 




Published: August 17th, 2023

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