Meet the new Wendy's prototype restaurant. I think it's kind of underwhelming from the standpoint that the father of Wendy's Hamburgers, Dave Thomas, revolutionized fast food by essentially making the drive-thru ubiquities after adding it to his free-standing restaurants.

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Don't get me wrong, the new Wendy's prototype called "Global Nex Gen" looks nice. It's just not all that distinctive. Not to mention all the hype and smoke and noise these restaurant chains make about new designs and better customer experiences. Yet, it takes a decade for all the franchises to actually make that level of service the norm.

Of course, not everything in a restaurant design is done for the customers' benefit. Some of the design tweaks make it easier for the employees, and that's a good thing. These back of restaurant changes  for Wendy's include:

Reimagined Kitchen: A new galley-style kitchen design, which runs from the front to the back of the restaurant, increases efficiency and oversight for the crew across all sales channels. The kitchen design allows for efficiencies at the point of sale, provides the ability for the crew to slide between positions more easily throughout the day, and supports faster order fulfillment and culinary innovation.


Next Generation Technology: Global Next Gen comes alive through the next generation of modernized technology that works hard behind the scenes, allowing restaurant teams to handle significantly more digital business than before. This also provides a platform for forward-leaning technology innovation.

These are both pretty cool changes, I'd imagine, for Wendy's crew members. For the public, food delivery drivers will have a dedicated delivery pick-up window and delivery parking. These two things will eliminate the need for drivers to either enter the restaurant or clog up the drive-thru lane customers use. Customers who mobile order, will be able to park in designated spaces and grab their food from a shelf in the restaurant and go.

Wendys Global Next Gen Exterior Main Entry
The Wendy's Company

The one thing that bugs me, though. Is the lack of an innovative building design. Yet Wendy's isn't the only fast food joint that has given up on building restaurants with a distinct architecture. Or even tell-tale design elements that make a statement. Yaknow, like Whataburger's unique A-Frame buildings. Or the early McDonald's restaurants where the arches were part of the building.

It's all just what I'd call generic modern. The kind of place that can easily be changed from a Wendy's to a Taco Bell, to a McDonald's, and eventually a title loan place after all the fast food joints fail at a location. I mean, let's face it, everyone knows when someone takes over an old classic Taco Bell location or an old Long John Silvers building. These days, though, nope. The current generation of fast food joints are just squarish - rectangle boxes with a sign on 'em.

Then again, at some point, fast food went from a tasty treat to a cheap way to not have to cook. Unfortunately, the cool architecture and a lot of the elements that made these businesses special went away too. I wonder what Wendy's founder Dave Thomas would have to say about it. Maybe I'll ponder that over a Dave's Double.

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