Chick-Fil-A Says The Future Is Now With To-Go Focused Concepts

Long drive-thru lines have become about as synonymous with Chick-fil-A as chicken sandwiches. However, the lengthy queues could soon become a thing of the past with new restaurant concepts the chain is testing next year. In an official press release, Chik-fil-A announced two digitally-focused restaurants slated to open in early 2024 in the Atlanta area and New York City.

The Atlanta-area concept features an elevated kitchen above four drive-thru lanes running beneath the building. Two lanes will be dedicated to ordering and two to mobile pick-up customers, similar to the current "Mobile-Thru" lines. Aiming to improve quality and ensure the food is hot, mobile orders will be fired in the kitchen the moment customers enter the lane. As with the current drive-thru model, staff will still assist customers outside the restaurant on foot, taking your order and delivering food directly to your window.

In New York City, Chick-fil-A is testing a concept for dense urban areas that facilitates grab-and-go digital order pick-up. Chick-fil-A's YouTube video on the restaurant designs explains that the simple walk-up format only features a pick-up area, with nowhere to order or fill a drink. Using the customer's GPS location shared with the ordering app, the restaurant hopes to limit wait times and have orders ready as soon as possible.

Efficiency and customer convenience are the aim of the new designs

Chick-fil-A has long prided itself on cheerful and quick customer service, but these new restaurant designs target the chain's entire ordering and pick-up process. While the typically attentive workers will still be the face of your experience, these concepts attempt to streamline efficiency, from ordering to quality assurance, with decreased wait times across the board.

Chick-fil-A's CEO once estimated that 30% of potential customers drive off due to long drive-thru lines (via Atlanta Business Chronicle). To confront the problem, Khalilah Cooper, Chick-fil-A's executive director of restaurant design, tells QSR that the elevated drive-thru model will double the kitchen capacity, allowing up to 75 cars to occupy the drive-thru. She also mentions a "food-transport system," presumably to carry the food from the kitchen to the ground level. Similarly, the single-point mobile grab-and-go model aims to increase ordering efficiency.

While the massively successful chain, which raked in nearly 19 billion dollars last year, emphasizes convenience and customer satisfaction in the new restaurant concepts, it's easy to see how these models could boost sales. Chick-fil-A is already trouncing its fast-food drive-thru competition, but it seems to be shooting for something even bigger, better, and faster than ever.