There is no doubt that customers’ expectations of fast food (Quick Service Restaurants) are changing, and those expectations are prioritised differently around the world. In the United States, 70% of sales are through drive-thru, while in France, 77% of sales are in-store. In China, mobile payment through social chat apps like WeChat is ubiquitous, while in the West, mobile payment options like Apple or Android Pay are beginning to become indispensable. This doesn’t begin to touch on the changing food interests of customers around the world like plant-based, and gluten-free.

All this filters down into the concepts and interior designs of QSRs, so here are some of our favourite QSR design ideas for 2019 and beyond.

Starbucks Reserve Bakery Café, Shanghai

Starbucks is the world’s largest coffee chain by any measure with 29,324 stores around the world. Recently, we’ve seen the launch of Starbucks Reserve. These are premium, individually designed Starbucks stores in global hotspots including Seattle, Shanghai, Milano, New York. Two new stores in Tokyo and Chicago are planned soon.

This is the new Starbucks Reserve in Shanghai, which features the Starbucks Reserve Roastery concept with an additional new element, titled the Bakery Café.

Starbucks Reserve Shanghai

Photo via Starbucks

This introduces high-end Italian bakery chain, Princi, to the store, offering an expanded menu of 100 different creations. The store features an all-day dining experience, from prosecco brunches through to evening aperitivo, and everything in between.

Starbucks Reserve aperativo

Photo via Starbucks

The restaurant’s interior is atmospheric, with a polished store floor, a lavish bar with high wooden stools for people to perch at and enjoy a drink, and an array of seating clusters to encourage people to socialise and enjoy their food and drink together. Food is showcased in abundance, both openly behind the counter, and displayed under glass on the counter itself to emphasise provenance and quality.

Starbucks Reserve bakery

Photo via Starbucks

Mendocino Farms Sandwich Market

This family-owned operation based out of LA promises that its healthy sandwiches sell happiness, whether you’re eating in or taking away, and owners—industry veterans Mario Del Pero and Ellen Chen—have created a chain with a hospitality experience a notch above its peers.

mendocino Farms design ideas

Photo via Mendocino Farms

Menu-wise, it embraces an ethos of mindful consumption, with plant-based, locally-sourced options. In 2016, Mendocino launched their store-within-a-store format with Whole Foods.

mendocino Farms food design ideas

Photo via Mendocino Farms

mendocino Farms design ideas

Photo via Mendocino Farms

From an interiors perspective, Mendocino Farms is slightly elevated over a standard McDonalds, but not by much. This enables it to enjoy broad appeal and mainstream success.

That said, its ethical, healthy brand values are reinforced through the use of hardwood surfaces, clear glass shop front, a number of almost-but-not-quite-twee wooden seating options, akin to garden furniture, and each store featuring its own local identity, emphasising the regionality of the products.

McDonalds Chicago flagship

McDonald's Chicago exterior design ideas

Photo via McDonald’s

McDonald’s is constantly undergoing brand and restaurant development, and recently, we’ve seen a number of impressive units added to the McDonald’s estate. The new 19,000 sq. ft. flagship in Chicago is designed with sustainability in mind. As CEO Steve Easterbrook has said, “we are proud to open the doors to this flagship restaurant which symbolises how we are building a better McDonald’s for our customers and the communities where they live.”

McDonald's Chicago green

Photo via McDonald’s

The new store has a number of green spaces arranged throughout, including over 70 trees on the ground floor, a vegetated roof space and floating glass garden of ferns and white birch trees.

McDonald's Chicago garden

Photo via McDonald’s

It also takes advantage of a number of energy saving initiatives like an on-site enhanced solar panel array for renewable energy collection, interior and exterior LED lighting and a much more.

McDonald's Chicago self-service

Photo via McDonald’s

The restaurant has a bright, almost minimal interior with a focus on materials, as well as an enhanced offer, with an elevated McCafé presence with a separate counter and baked goods display. The restaurant also features table service.

Mcdonald's Chicago seating QSR design ideas

Photo via McDonald’s

Robot burger

Creator burger QSR design ideas

Photo via Creator

Bonus round.

This isn’t a restaurant per se, but Creator’s 14ft robot creates custom burgers from scratch in just five minutes. And they look great.

The trade off given the human-interaction-less machine design is that costs are minimal (no wages to pay), so for $6, you get an extremely high quality burger.

The design of the machine itself is elegant, and manages to turn something that could be quite intimidating into something intriguing and beautiful.

By using clear surfaces for much of the machine, customers can see how their burger is being assembled, and where each of the fresh ingredients are stored, reassuring them of the process. White acrylic finishes help to breathe an element of cleanliness and purity into the design, and a solid wood frame helps to turn the machine into something organic.

Contact us today

The fast food game has changed, and new and existing chains need to understand what motivates today’s customers. We’ve been in the business of designing and rolling out QSRs around the world for decades. Get in touch with us today to see if we can help turn your next project into a reality.