QSR New Builds Respond to Digital-Leaning Customers

Look for less seating and more drive-thru lanes.

July 28, 2023

McDonald’s digital sales account for 40% of its revenue in its larger markets. With this new reality, McDonald’s will be testing how to slim down its traditional stores, since fewer customers are standing in line or eating onsite, according to QSR Magazine.

"How do we bring new concepts that open up real estate opportunities that under a traditional model would not necessarily be available to us?" CEO Chris Kempczinski asked during the company’s earnings call.

As part of answering that question, QSR Magazine reports that the “company's business venture team is developing a new design called ‘CosMc's,’” a small store with the DNA of McDonald’s but its own personality.

QSR Magazine also reports, “Numerous quick-service chains tested smaller formats and drive-thru-only prototypes amid the pandemic as customers flocked to the channel—a migration that doesn't appear to be going away. Chick-fil-A, Chipotle, Jack in the Box and Captain D's, are some of the bigger names that have gone this route.”

Chick-fil-A recently opened up a location in Hawaii with three walk-up windows, two drive-thru lanes and no inside seating.

A new Chick-fil-A store design is also in development that features an elevated kitchen space. The design will give more space to preparing food but also have four drive-thru lanes, including two lanes dedicated to picking up mobile orders.  

“Understanding this desire for convenience, the locations for these tests were intentionally selected with the customers in mind, giving them more control over their desired experience and cutting down wait-time, while continuing to provide genuine hospitality and care to every guest,” Khalilah Cooper, the brand’s executive director of restaurant design, said.

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