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5 Popular Fast Food Restaurants That You Won't Even Recognize Next Year

Recent innovations inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic have dramatically changed several brands' image.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way all fast-casual and sit-down restaurants operate and it's also enabled many to rethink the way they conduct business in the future.

Below, you'll see five of your favorite fast-food chains that have major plans to restructure their stores so that they're better equipped to service delivery and to-go orders placed through their mobile apps. And don't miss McDonald's Is Making These 8 Major Upgrades.

Burger King

burger king parking lot
Courtesy of Burger King

Starting in 2021, Burger King restaurants in Miami, Latin America, and the Caribbean will look pretty different thanks to the chain's new "Restaurant of Tomorrow" designs. Some of the new changes include a drive-in section, curbside delivery, an outdoor dining section, high-tech features in the drive-thru lanes (such as a conveyor belt that delivers the food straight to your car), and even food lockers for takeout orders.


popeyes interior
Courtesy of Popeyes

At the beginning of the summer, Popeyes underwent a logo change and announced that it would begin updating its store design. The first remodel occurred at a location near the brand's foundations in New Orleans. What initially started as a pilot program will be expanding across existing and new Popeyes restaurants across the U.S. in 2021. Speaking of the fried chicken place, don't miss 5 Things You Didn't Know About Popeyes' Chicken Sandwich.

Taco Bell

taco bell
Courtesy of Taco Bell

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Taco Bell was planning on opening "fast-social" restaurants complete with stadium-style seating—however—for obvious reasons, that plan was put on hold. Instead, the chain expedited its vision on the new store format "Taco Bell Go Mobile" which, allegedly, has been in the works for three to four years now.

Essentially, the updated model—which is slated to debut early next year—will have less of a dine-in focus and instead zero in on drive-thru and mobile orders. In fact, there will be two drive-thru lanes. In addition to the traditional drive-thru lane, there will also be what's called the "priority lane" which will be for mobile order pickups only.


chipotle digital kitchen
Courtesy of Chipotle

Last month, Chipotle announced that it would introduce a new store model that would further enhance its packaging of digital orders. Called Chipotle Digital Kitchen, this store is designed to only tackle delivery and pickup orders made through the brand's mobile app. The first location of the dining room-less Chipotle recently popped up near West Point Academy in New York. The model is currently in the testing stages, so the brand deems it successful you could see one pop up near you in 2021.


kfc exterior
Courtesy of KFC

KFC also made the announcement last month that it wouldn't just be debuting one new-and-improved store model—the brand plans to release two new prototypes. One such model is an express store, which doesn't have a dining room while the second design offers outdoor seating, dubbed Colonel's Porch, as well as a smaller dining room. The latter model will also offer more options for contactless pickup of digital orders. Much like Burger King and Taco Bell, some of these new stores may even have multiple drive-thru lanes. As of now, three restaurants in Indiana, Florida, and Kentucky are set to debut with these new features next year. You can see what the modernized "Next Generation Prototype" looks like here.

For more, check out 28 Unhealthiest Fast Foods of 2020.

Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the former news editor of Eat This, Not That! Read more about Cheyenne