Jack In The Box's New Concept Restaurant Ditches The Dining Room

Fast-food chain Jack in the Box just announced an innovative new restaurant prototype that it hopes will reduce operating costs and streamline its operations (via BusinessWire). Of course, Jack in the Box is no stranger to restaurant innovations. Back in April, it announced that it would be collaborating with Miso Robotics to introduce french frying and drink dispensing robots in its kitchens. This was supposedly done to help boost the productivity of its human workers, improve service, and save on operational costs.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants have been forced to adapt to new market demands. Morning Consult says that 23% of diners are now ordering takeout from restaurants multiple times a month. They also appear to be doing so more than they are eating in at restaurants. According to Yelp, many consumers are feeling comfortable eating in restaurant dining rooms again. However, 70% of Americans are still more likely to order takeout than they were before the pandemic. NPR adds that a variety of operating costs for restaurants have increased as a direct result of lingering inflation.

This has forced small restaurant owners as well as large franchises like Jack in the Box to change their operations in a number of ways. The latest change from Jack in the Box stands to change the dining experience entirely.

Jack in the Box is opening a drive-thru-only prototype

On October 18, Jack in the Box announced that it will be opening its first drive-thru and takeout-only restaurant in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This means that this specific location will not have a dedicated dining room space to allow customers to eat on the premises. 

This first-of-its-kind restaurant space will serve as a prototype for possible future developments, which Jack in the Box says will allow the company to continue expanding across the country. "With the benefits of increased drive-thru efficiency and streamlined operations, this new model makes the Jack in the Box franchise opportunity more appealing for customers and franchisees alike," said Tim Linderman, chief franchise and corporate development officer for Jack in the Box.

The new restaurant will feature dual drive-thru lanes as well as dedicated windows for walk-up orders and online or mobile order pickups. The facility will be 1,350 square feet and will reduce build-out costs for the company by 20%. According to Jack in the Box's website, the new MK12_W prototype is specifically geared toward a variety of high-foot-traffic areas, including travel plazas, airports, and college campuses. 

ScrapeHero says that there are currently 2,168 Jack in the Box locations across the United States, with the majority based on the West Coast and in East Texas. Notably, residents of 29 states don't have a single Jack in the Box readily available to them. Of course, if the new prototype is a success, it seems possible that we could see significant expansion across some of those areas.