The move to offer fast food in a more restaurant-style format is being embraced by all operators as they strive to make customers linger for longer.
This has seen the rise in demand for larger premises within central city locations. It has also meant many have rationalised their smaller outlets that generally occupy kiosk-style sites near transport hubs.
In Sydney, Hungry Jack's are opening an "up-market" Sydney CBD flagship store in the Galeries???, at 2 Park Street, on the corner of Pitt Street, on a 10-year lease from mid December.
The Galeries was recently bought by Vicinity Centres in an asset swap with Singapore's sovereign wealth fund, GIC.
Joshua Bush, retail leasing executive at Colliers International, who negotiated the deal on behalf of Hungry Jack's, said there will be a new fit-out, with modern, high-end finishes, highlighting a growing trend of fast-food brands reshaping their fit-out, not only to appeal to consumers, but also to landlords.
"The Galeries are one of the most upmarket and sought-after shopping precincts in the Sydney CBD, and Hungry Jack's allowed to lease space there would typically be an unusual choice," Mr Bush said.
"Landlord's want to see new, modern food concepts - Hungry Jack's approached Colliers International to find them a site to replace the now government-acquired Pitt Street location."
In Sydney, McDonald's closed its store in George Street to focus on a larger format at Circular Quay.
Landlords such as Lendlease, AMP, Westfield/Scentre, Vicinity and Dexus are now targeting high-end tenants to deliver food offerings within their developments.
Upmarket burgers are also in the mix and the aim is to snap up space where possible. In Melbourne, Neil Perry has opened his Burger Project in St Collins Lane and has snared sites in the MLC Centre in Sydney.
Hungry Jack's chief marketing officer, Scott Baird, says the new Galeries space is yet another bold move Hungry Jack's has made in the past 18 months, with its new and improved menu and the launch of it's exciting 'Keeping It Real' campaign.
"Hungry Jack's is always looking for new ways to engage with our customers, whether it be with our fresh, great tasting new food items, innovation or creating new dining opportunities such as Galeries Victoria on Pitt and Park Street," Mr Baird said.
"The move into this sought-after CBD location reinforces not only that the burgers are better at Hungry Jack's but everything is better as we begin to introduce fresh new restaurant designs, menu boards and roll out the look and feel of 'Keeping It Real' nationally," he said.
Colliers International research director Daniel Lees believes that fast food restaurants need to remain competitive with design in order to stay relevant in the CBD.
"Traditional food courts are being replaced by contemporary dining precincts filled with fresh-food outlets, cafes and restaurants both within and outside shopping centres" Mr Lees said.
"These precincts often have direct access routes to street frontages, and can remain open far longer than normal trading hours. This feature is important because it allows these precincts to capitalise further on the night-time economy that is utilised extensively by the tourist market."