How McDonald’s & Others are Evolving Store Formats to Cater to Time Starved Customers

McDonald’s new takeout only restaurant format. Photo credit: McDonalds

McDonald’s new takeout only restaurant format. Photo credit: McDonalds

By Tricia McKinnon

Time. If only we could have more of it.  With more dual income families as well as more time spent commuting (globally people spend an average of two hours each day commuting) people are strapped for time Sensing this trend retailers from Amazon to Starbucks to McDonald’s are focusing on store formats that emphasize convenience.  The high-tech Amazon Go stores that Amazon spent hundreds of millions of dollars developing are essentially convenience stores.  Is this a coincidence? No it is not.  Amazon is trying to cash in on the convenience trend.   According to Bloomberg when Amazon Go was first conceived the project was aimed at revolutionizing grocery stores and the initial real-life store mock-up was for a supermarket.  When Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos first visited the mock supermarket he didn’t like the fact that customers would have to wait while various food items such as meat, seafood and fruit were weighed so that the cost could be tallied up for the customer. He also instructed the team to get rid of lines at the checkout.  Eventually the store that we know today as Amazon Go has been whittled down in size from original mock store size and sells mainly convenience items.  

In Beijing Starbucks recently launched a new store format called Starbucks Now.  The store format has very little seating and is tailored made for customers that just want to grab a coffee and go.  The next retailer that is poised to capitalize on the convenience trend is McDonald’s.  On July 31st, 2019 McDonald’s launched its biggest restaurant format change since the drive through was launched in the 1970s.  McDonald’s new restaurant format which opened on Fleet Street in London is called McDonald’s to Go and is takeout only. The décor is minimal, there is no seating and customers use touch screens on a wall to place orders (see photo above). To keep lines short and focus on speed of service the restaurant only sells a few of McDonald’s signature items including: Big Macs, McNuggets, and fries.  In the fall McDonald’s is also planning to test a new line of freshly prepared salads in the new format.  

Speaking about the new restaurant format, Henry Trickey, Senior Vice President for Development and IT at McDonald’s said: “in Fleet Street, where city workers are looking for something quick to grab and go, it makes sense to test a smaller format.”



Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest retail insights & trends delivered to your inbox