Chipotle, Panera Turn to Drive- Thru’s as Fast Food Stigma Fades

Chipotle adding Drive-Thrus! In an effort to compete for the stomach dollar of the consumer, Chipotle has announced plans to add “several dozen” drive up windows in 2019.Chipotle adding Drive-Thrus! In an effort to compete for the stomach dollar of the consumer, Chipotle has announced plans to add “several dozen” drive up windows in 2019. It is all about the convenience, and brands are looking to add this luxury of an amenity into their stores for their consumer as they grow into the future. Originally, the high-end fast causal chains insisted that they did not want to follow the same path as the traditional fast food leaders, think McDonalds and Burger King, however they have re-thought their position and look to incorporate into stores.

By the incorporation of a drive thru, food/coffee retailers traditionally see an increase in sales in the amount of 30-35%. For example, a Starbucks with a performance of $1,000,000 a year in sales as an inline unit, typically can increase their store unit sales to $1,300,000 by adding a drive thru. In my opinion, I believe a drive thru can be a tremendous benefit for retailers depending upon concept, implementation, and execution or a huge detriment if not carefully thought out with a proper implementation plan. One great example of a retailer dominating the drive thru scene is Chick-fil-A. They have done a phenomenal job in my opinion on their implementation and execution of their new dual drive thru prototype. A unit in South Tampa, located around the corner from our office just completed a renovation of their prototype to a dual drive thru system. You pull up into the drive thru, you are greeted by a standing employee with an iPad, they take your order, you continue to move forward, and stop at a kiosk again outside in the drive thru lane, make your payment and proceed to the window where you collect your order and exit the lane. They complete this process flawlessly in an average time from my experience of approx. 180 – 240 seconds.

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