Future McDonald’s restaurants are likely to incorporate kitchens that are not symmetrical with the rest of the floorplan or which may not even be sited on the same level as the seating area, as the chain seeks to add extra space for customers and secure locations that previously would have been unviable.
Bernard Morauw, senior director of architecture and restaurant design at McDonald’s International, says that flexibility of store design is a major focus area for the chain, with new concepts being created to accommodate expansion.
“If you look at the restaurants we have built around the world, for many years they were built as a box. But when you build a box, anything within that shape is constrained should you want to grow it or add a new product that requires a new piece of equipment,” said Morauw.
“If you need more room to serve the customer and make that area bigger, you end up shrinking the customer area. We are moving to a more flexible geometry and a more value-led approach, so that restaurants can grow based on their needs.”
Additionally, another store design innovation being hailed by McDonald’s is a ‘transporter’ system that enables the kitchen and service area to be on different levels.
“These conveyors offer us a way to be able to take on a ground floor site that would usually be difficult to secure. On a multi-storey site, it means you could have a smaller front counter and service area and then an entire separate space for the kitchen.”
This system has already been implemented in markets such as Taiwan, where in one shopping centre where the servery area faces street level it has been able to capture high a volume of passing customers that would otherwise have unlikely gone into the complex.