Restaurant Design Needs To Catch Up

Updated: Apr 29, 2019

Brick-and-mortar restaurant design is starting to address the reality that over fifty percent of customers are dining off-premise.

Chipotle has made a big push to redesign its stores for more effective and efficient take- out. If recent reports are anything to go by, this move has been a huge success. As off-premise dining makes up a large percentage of sales for many restaurants, you would think designers would have paid more attention to this booming area. Well things are changing, and the restaurants of the future may be smaller and more focused on the take-out customer. This reflects the growth in take-out and the fact that while total restaurant sales have continued to expand, a number of larger seating capacity restaurants are having trouble with occupancy levels.

Newer restaurant designs are acknowledging the fact that many customers prefer picking up or driving thru. Sure, there have been drive thrus for years, but often based on where can we "stick a window and lane". Does that make sense for a quick service restaurant that could be doing up to 80% of their business through the drive-thru lane? Some designers and architects don't think so, and propose that the restaurants of the future will have better lit, better designed, more prominent drive thru lanes reflecting where customers actually interact with the restaurant.

And redesigns are not just for take-out and drive thrus. With delivery now around 40% of business for many restaurants, dedicated pick-up areas for in-house delivery drivers and third-party delivery drivers like the ones from Grubhub or Doordash, make a lot of sense.

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