The two new designs KFC revealed Wednesday highlight the fact that diners’ habits have shifted toward delivery rather than in restaurant dining – a trend that started pre-pandemic, but was accelerated by coronavirus, “proving a need for a modernized design,” the company said.
The existing KFC store design, called the “American Showman,” will eventually be phased out in favor of one of the two new concepts.
One design ditches the traditional dining room, an option with less square footage that would be ideal for expansion into busier areas like cities where real estate is more expensive. Chipotle and Starbucks recently debuted similar designs that are smaller than typical locations.
KFC’s other design emphasizes the drive-thru, which encompassed 60% of the company’s sales in the third quarter. This design features two drive-thru lanes, with one dedicated to mobile order pickup. Taco Bell, which is also owned by Yum! Brands (YUM), showed off a similar idea earlier this year.
That option also includes an outdoor seating area called the “Colonel’s Porch” and an interior dining room that’s smaller than KFC’s current layouts.
Both concepts feature brighter branding that highlights KFC’s classic red and white stripes and a brightly lit red bucket that directs customers to a newly installed “cubby system” for online and pickup orders.
Some restaurants will have dedicated parking spots for customers that order from KFC’s app or third-party apps, as well as reserved spaces for DoorDash, Uber Eats and Postmates delivery drivers.
KFC said the new designs will roll out in three US locations next year, including West Palm Beach, Indianapolis and central Kentucky.
The drive-thru has become even more important for quick serve restaurants during the pandemic, with multiple chains, including McDonald’s and Chipotle, revealing in recent earnings calls that restaurants with them have seen sales increase faster. McDonald’s, Burger King and Popeye’s all have announced restaurant redesigns that enhance their drive-thrus.