See the biggest and most ambitious drive-thru concepts from Taco Bell, Burger King, and KFC

Taco Bell Go Mobile pickup line
The mobile lane of the drive-thru. Mary Meisenzahl/Insider
  • Several major fast food chains have announced plans for larger drive-thrus with more lanes.
  • Other fast-casual chains are opening their first ever drive-thrus.
  • Drive-thrus became essential for chains in 2020 when dining rooms closed.

Burger King announced new minimalist, futuristic restaurant designs last year.
Front
Source: Insider
The restaurants will have more options for customers to get their orders conveniently, including drive-thru, drive-in, or curbside pickup.
Street Burger King
Source: Insider
For drive-in orders, customers park under solar-powered canopies while they wait for workers to bring their food out. Orders are placed by scanning the QR code associated with the parking spot.
Burger King
Source: Insider
The designs also come with redesigned drive-thrus.
Burger King
Source: Insider
Three separate drive-thru lanes are designed to keep traffic moving and get orders out faster.
Drive thru above Burger King
Source: Insider
Burger King’s kitchen will be upstairs, above the drive-thru, allowing the restaurant to take up a smaller physical footprint. Conveyor belts will deliver orders to the cars below.
Burger King suspended
Source: Insider
There will even be a lane specifically designated for delivery drivers on motorcycles.
Burger King
Source: Insider
These “restaurant of the future” ideas are for a post-COVID world, but the restaurants are still centered around mobile and drive-thru orders and the idea that people want to get their food as quickly and seamlessly as possibly.
Burger King
Source: Insider
Taco Bell introduced it’s own large drive-thru concept this year, with plans to open in 2022.
Taco Bell drive-thru concept
‘s new concept is set to open in summer 2022. Taco Bell
Source: Insider
Three lanes will be for mobile and delivery orders, serving customers who ordered on the Taco Bell app or another delivery service.
Taco Bell drive-thru concept
‘s new concept is set to open in summer 2022. Taco Bell
Source: Insider
The concept includes a section for customers to park and order on their phones.
Taco Bell drive-thru concept
‘s new concept is set to open in summer 2022. Taco Bell
Source: Insider
The fourth drive-thru lane will be more traditional, where customers order and receive their food.
Taco Bell drive-thru concept
‘s new concept is set to open in summer 2022. Taco Bell
Source: Insider
Mobile order customers, who will presumably make up a higher proportion of customers at this location, can scan their orders with QR codes at digital check-in screens.
Taco Bell drive-thru concept
‘s new concept is set to open in summer 2022. Taco Bell
Source: Insider
The actual process of getting food “defies gravity,” according to Taco Bell.
Taco Bell drive-thru concept
‘s new concept is set to open in summer 2022. Taco Bell
Source: Insider
Food delivery is contactless through a lift system, along with audio and video connections to Taco Bell staff.
Taco Bell drive-thru concept
‘s new concept is set to open in summer 2022. Taco Bell
Source: Insider
Taco Bell’s kitchen will be elevated above the drive-thru lanes, which minimizes the footprint of the restaurant.
Taco Bell drive-thru concept
‘s new concept is set to open in summer 2022. Taco Bell
Source: Insider
The new Taco Bell Defy location is scheduled to open in summer 2022 in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.
Taco Bell drive-thru concept
‘s new concept is set to open in summer 2022. Taco Bell
Source: Insider
KFC’s Next Generation prototype includes many of the same design ideas as the others.
KFC drive thru next generation prototype
Double drive-thru lanes have become commonplace in the fast food world as drive-thru traffic grew over the last year and a half.
KFC drive thru next generation prototype
KFC also included a digital menu board and overhang to protect from the elements.
KFC drive thru next generation prototype
There are no conveyor belts in this design. Instead, the lines merge together to pay and get their orders at the window.
KFC drive thru next generation prototype
There are reserved spots for picking up mobile orders, though.
KFC drive thru next generation prototype
Other spots are also reserved for delivery drivers.
KFC drive thru next generation prototype
Customers with online orders also have a special entrance to avoid the regular line and get their food.
KFC drive thru next generation prototype
Shake Shack’s plans for its first-ever drive-thru are ambitious.
Shake Shack redesign
Source: Insider
It will have three lanes: two traditional lines, and one for orders from the app.
Shake shack drive thru
Shake Shack plans to roll out up to eight drive-thru sites across the US by mid-2022. Restaurants will have digital menu boards, a two-lane ordering system, and a separate pick-up window for ease of convenience.
Shake Shack's drive-thru rendering
‘s drive-thru rendering. Shake Shack
Along with the drive-thru, Shake Shack will roll out separate lanes for customers who have pre-ordered digitally, called the “Shake Track.”
Shake Shack redesign
Other chains that haven’t traditionally had drive-thrus are getting into the game too.
Shake Shack redesign
Fast-casual chain Qdoba quickly converted some restaurants into drive-thrus in 2020, with plans to continue adding more.
Qdoba drive thru
Salad chain Sweetgreen announced plans for its first drive-thru, with a “dedicated concierge for in-car ordering,” and a typical lane for picking up food at any drive-thru.
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concept. Sweetgreen
Source: Insider
Sweetgreen says it will have solar panels and a “transparent” design to show off the kitchen and prep areas.
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concept. Sweetgreen
Panera Bread, another fast-casual chain, debuted a design for new drive-thru stores with footprints only one-fifth the size of typical stores.
Panera Bread's new double drive thru
Source: Insider
Customers will be able to order from their phones for dine-in, drive-thru, delivery, and rapid pick-up.
Panera Bread's new double drive thru
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