Burger King New "Sit Down" Redesign

I just read this article on Yahoo and thought I would pass it on. It looks like Burger King is going for a new look and new experience when it comes to the interior of their restaurants. They are adding new interiors to try to break into the sit down category like Panera and Starbucks. It is an interesting concept but I don’t really know if it will work. I rarely eat fast food and I do not know if a new interior will make me want to visit it more. In order for this to work I would think they would have to change the menu as well and add guilt free items, or if they already exist then they would need to have a major PR campaign around them to change their perception.

What are your thoughts??


Odd. I don’t like the idea. But is it really multiple stores? I worked on a project for KFC a few years ago that was basically just a concept store where they tested new interiors/exterior ideas. Some things have made their way to the new stores but, many of them were just too expensive to implement. Makes me wonder if this will be similar.

It really seems like a strange departure from the current Burger King model. Especially foodwise.

I was thinking the same thing, but the article did say they were looking at 12,000 store world wide. When you really think about that though it is not that many stores. This could very well be a test.

It is an interesting concept. If we look at restaurants such as TGIF and Ruby Tuesdays they have seemed to completely over haul their image. I know it is a different category, but it is possible it will just take lots of money and lots of work. My question is…Is it needed? In this economy fast food, I am guessing, is probably doing very well given that it is cheap and appeals to a large market.

I have to say that this techno version may not be the one that will set the word on fire, although it looks cool, currently burger king’s interior spaces are terrible, in the sense that they are just generic as can be. i think what MacDonald’s and taco bell has done with interior design is kinda nice. Most burger kings still remind me of back when i was 5 years old and all the fast food places looked the same.

that said, they still ahve the best double cheeseburger of the major chains. :slight_smile:

So franchises will drop a half mil to keep people around to buy $1 double cheeseburgers. This will really work well with the higher minimum wages. Something is not going to add up.
Starbucks gets people into the stores because of the brand experience, but they keep people spending & coming back because their customers are addicted to their product. And even they are now going lowscale with their new instant coffee because the economy is so tight.
The whole idea about selling the sizzle instead of the steak works as long as you have the steak to back up the hype.

Not being a big fast food kind of guy I can’t say I really like it but it certainly has more of a mature presence about it. I think it’s wise for Bk to define themselves away from the more kiddy Mcdonalds.

On a side note… amazing how you can read all the stories across the internet about it and it’s the same copy more or less. No one website as any further insight than another. The homogenization of our news!

Can’t find anywhere who was actually behind the design.


A lot of stainless steel, corrugated metal, bricks, and flames. I wouldn’t catergorize it as futuristic. Maybe nascar-modern.

These guys do the ads I wonder if they had anything to do with it. They must be fans of the core blog:

I don’t think that redesigning the interiors of their “restaurants” will make me have the urge to eat that stuff… Their food would have to change dramatically for that to ever happen…

All they sell is garbage and sugar water. I would prefer they burn all their “restaurants” to the ground.

I think it’s a fun idea, but I don’t like the execution of it. A little too goofy. McDonalds has some really nice higher-end places scattered randomly across the country. They’re nice and modern, but don’t feel cheap like the BK one does. I encountered one in a small, podunk eastern Oregon town once during a road trip. I think ID magazine had an article on fast-food high design a year or two ago - it was quite interesting.

A lot of disdain for fast food here. I don’t remember if BK has salads, but there are lots of healthy options at McD and Taco Bell that are pretty tasty - not gourmet, but decent. Fast food fills a need well. Individuals are free to abuse the convenience, but that doesn’t mean it’s never appropriate. If you are going for the occasional cheap burger, you could do a lot worse than the $1 whopper jr w/ tomato/lettuce/pickles/onions (no cheese, only one patty).

According to Schlosser, Americans spent approximately $ 6 billion on fast food in 1970 and $110 billion in 2001. He goes on to state that “Americans now spend more money on fast food than on higher education, personal computers, computer software, or new cars … movies, books, magazines, newspapers, videos, and recorded music – combined.”

Effects on ChildrenIn much the same manner as tobacco companies, fast food chains use ingenious marketing efforts to target young consumers; these range from toy-laden Happy Meals and onsite playgrounds to 99-cent value menus and cute commercials with talking Chihuahuas.

According to Fast Food Nation, children between the ages of 7 and 13 are the largest consumers of hamburgers. They are also some of the most vulnerable consumers of meat tainted with food borne pathogens, such as E. coli 0157:H7, Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, and Clostridium perfringens.

Schlosser asserts that “every day in the United States, approximately 200,000 people are sickened by a food borne disease, 900 are hospitalized, and fourteen die.” The majority of these are children, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems.

Many of the food borne pathogens that make eating a hamburger so dangerous are carried in fecal matter, which regularly gets into the meat due to the rapid-pace and inherently messy process of slaughtering animals. To put it as plainly as Schlosser does: “There is shit in the meat.”

Sounds yummy. Only a dollar eh? :smiling_imp:

cdaisy, I agree with you. I rarely eat fast food or drink a soda (maybe once a month). I would only stipulate that misuse/overconsumption is a choice one should be free to make, and that the downsides of slaughterhouses apply to most of the meat supply, not just fast food. Also, healthier, non-fecies burger options are prevalent in many chains these days. =)

I’ll try not to derail the thread, though. I think I found the article I was referring to earlier.

If they are going after something more coffeehouse then they need good places for people to sit and relax. The biggest feature of in my mind for Starbucks success is the fact they have big comfortable sofas, which is why my small-town Starbucks is more popular than the other rival in town (*costa-fortune) due to the layout and the availability of its good seating. Small stools etc… are uncomfortable and just encourage people to gtfo, with starbucks’s interior design it encourages people to stay, coupled with more friendly staff who are less overworked than say McDonald’s or burger ming. i mean king.

I hear ya Cameron. Its a free country and people can eat Ho Ho’s all day if they want. I just have a sore spot when it comes to fast food chains. Too many people believe they are actually eating food when in reality the stuff has very little nutritional value.
Too many people eat that junk on a daily basis. It makes the country unhealthy, not to mention the deforestation that takes place in South America in order to raise the cattle for all these burgers, plus the cow farts that contribute to climate change.

But, I’m off topic I suppose. We should talk about making these wonderful establishments look more hip and comphy…

Oops, I did it again. :wink:

Well this redesign is probably about capturing more of the fast food market and not about winning over the health conscious. I agree that Bk’s overdue facelift is to follow the shifting market and keep pace with McD’s and Taco Bell. Both of which are more pleasant now than they were in years past. Also 12,000 store is not a test. There had to be a smaller run. Of course McD’s and Taco Bell did the testing for them.

Ho hum. This new design will bring them to parity with some of their competition.
But I think that’s a waste of money. Give me a design that makes people WANT to go there BK!

Cow Farts…Please this is a professional discussion so let’s not get ridiculous with this.

Cdaisy I appreciate your view but I do have to say that Fast food is no different than candy, alcohol, or other no permissible food that we all eat, it is fine if done in moderation. Also the notion that there is shit in the beef is completely ridiculous.

But this topic is not about the food and how bad it is for you, but rather about the experience that a new interior or brand propositions could create better an environment. I think this is a very interesting concept. Panera which is not a healthy option but have the perception of being good for you and Chipotle have grown in popularity but are not that much different than fast food. My views on this why this is:

  1. They create their food to order and in front of you so you get that “chef” type experience

  2. They take the design all the way from the dinning room to even the kitchen so you are not seeing weird contraptions in the back that just look scary and look more like a manufacturing line than a kitchen. When I was in college we always used to laugh about the caulking guns they have sour cream in aTaco Bell.

  3. Provide a more up scale experience with comfortable seating and WiFi. The only way I see this working is for Burger King to take on that same strategy. They need to make their burgers to order (which I think they do already) present them in a decent way, offer some permissible items and have the extras such as WiFi, etc…

Like I mentioned earlier, I think it is an interesting idea and could work, but it will require a lot of thought, money and work.

I just returned from a trip to Korea where I was forced to eat a burger and fries for lunch… gross.

We ate at Lotteria, which looks like the inspiration for the Burger King redesign.

At this particular Lotteria, you order your food downstairs at a counter that looks exactly like an American fast food place.

Then you go upstairs to eat. They had decent, sorta contemporary furniture, fancy mini-chandelier lighting, and lots of pink and grey colors throughout. It was really odd to eat in an obviously designed environment and be eating crap food.

At the end of the day, I think it is all about the quality and price of the food, and the decor probably doesn’t make a difference.

I agree and disagree here. Yes if you are eating crap food it will not work, but you environment also influence your perception of the food. The better the environment, the better the food tastes. Like I mentioned earlier, Panera Bread is extremely fattening but is looked at as a more permissible option because of the environment and their presentation.

Sorry. I meant to say bovine depressurization.

I’m sorry that I’m off topic a bit ranting against the fast food industry, but I’m trying to go a little deeper into their business model than what color the wall should be. Many of us designers are feeling the pressure to be more green and responible. Why not shine a light on the fact that Burger King sells a sub par and potentially damaging product in the first place? How about redesigning the menu first? Do they plan to chuck the old tables and chairs into the dumpster while they cook your four patty stacker?

If I really want to have a positive impact on peoples lives through design it would make more sense to come up with a sign that reads “Don’t Eat This”, instead of “Free WiFi”.

Now, if the goal is to increase BK’s profits and nothing else, well…some throw pillows in that corner would be nice.

Just sayin.