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Fast-casual chain Smashburger is planning on adding to its global network of 250 corporate and franchise restaurants by opening 40 new restaurants in 2021.
The chain has focused on a dine-in model in the past but plans to offer more takeout and collection services, accelerated partly by the pandemic.
The company plans to focus on “aggressively” opening new stores in busy suburban areas of Brooklyn, Chicago, New York, and Washington DC, its president, Carl Bachmann, told Insider.
Though the new restaurants were planned before the pandemic, they’ll offer customers contactless ways to collect food. This includes using food lockers to keep food hot until customers collect their meals. These are also in the works for other fast-food chains, including KFC and Burger King.
The new restaurants won’t only have enhanced collection options. The dine-in experience is getting a makeover, too.
This includes open kitchens, so customers can see their orders being cooked, and restaurant interiors that are specific to the city.
Smashburger also launched a new website and app during the pandemic, but still plans to offer delivery through a network of delivery service apps.
Other fast food chains are also redesigning their restaurants as demand for drive-thru and digital ordering continue to boom during the coronavirus pandemic. Shake Shack is opening its first drive-thru in Orlando, Florida, later this year, and plans to debut new delivery and collection methods, too. Burger King is also rolling out new-look stores will open in Miami, Latin America, and the Caribbean in 2021.