Burger King is designing 'touchless' restaurants for the COVID-19 era

Conveyor belts, car ports and multiple drive-thru lanes are part of the redesign.

Burger King

Basically every aspect of modern life has been touched by the coronavirus pandemic, and the restaurant industry is probably one that has been most significantly affected. As such, restaurants big and small are thinking about how to make things work for customers in this new reality, and today Burger King announced plans for future restaurants that are focused on modern tech and the car.

According to CNBC, Burger King’s two new restaurant designs will be as “touchless” as possible, with conveyor belts delivering food to customers, parking bays with solar panels where food will be delivered directly to your car and multiple drive-thru lanes, including one dedicated to delivery drivers. One of the two designs will include a walk-up window and more outdoor seating, another nod to the way we order and eat these days. Naturally, a mobile app will play largely into this experience, as well — if you park in one of those car bays, you can order on our phone and scan a QR code to get your food delivered.

There’s also a mobile pickup “locker” which sounds sort of like Amazon’s delivery lockers. The app will notify you when your food is ready and where to get it, and again you can scan a QR code to pick up your order. All told, these new designs require approximately 60 percent less square footage when compared to a traditional Burger King, which offers more room for this car-centric setup.

These new designs will first start opening next year in Latin America, the Caribbean and Miami, so it’ll probably be a while before this type of store is commonplace. Hopefully the pandemic will be a thing of the past by then, but the company appears to be preparing for a world in which our dining habits have changed as a result of the this year’s events.