Drive-Thru Digest

February 23, 2022

Peter Cook, Publisher

This issue of the Drive-Thru Digest includes some great analysis, as well as plenty of news about leading companies and their investment in drive-thrus.  That said, Starbucks and McDonalds suffered some setbacks in getting drive-thru locations approved.  I am sure those defeats are due to the fact that drive-thrus are so popular that the town councils feared drive-thrus would negatively impact local traffic.  It shows the importance of running an efficient drive-thru to minimize wait times and lines.

We decided not to include the countless articles about burglaries, shootings, or terrible services (making it onto Tik-Tok).  The focus of this newsletter is on the trends, technology, and investment in the drive-thru space.

Enjoy this week’s issue!  And please share it with colleagues and contacts who work in the business.  Please feel free to send us your news, white papers, and analysis related to drive-thrus!

And now, the news…

Drive-Thru Digest – Issue #8

WSJ: From Starbucks to Shake Shack, Drive-Through Lane Competition Heats Up

More companies look for properties that will allow them to serve customers in their cars.


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Drive-Through Lanes Came Back in a Big Way, They're Here to Stay

New data shows demand for grabbing a meal without leaving the comfort of the driver's seat has been transformative for the real estate of restaurants, especially after the pandemic made drive-through restaurants an even bigger part of life.


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A Coffee Comeback

Coffee shop sales fell in 2020, thanks to the pandemic. But our love of the beverage has not diminished and 2021 proved a comeback year for coffee.


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What Will the Key Restaurant Tech Investments Be in 2022?

Drive-thru is one of the key areas that quick service restaurants are innovating, with industry giants like McDonald’s and Starbucks investing heavily in customer personalization and decision technology.


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Metaverse opportunities for brands, retailers, and restaurants

Restaurants can now develop marketing skills in the metaverse rather than waiting a couple of years or more. Restaurant brands like Chipotle are already experimenting in this new landscape with new virtual promotional mechanics on platforms like Roblox. (Note: You’ll need to scroll down the page a bit to get to this article)


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The birthplace of Chick-fil-A’s chicken sandwich reopens after renovation

After nine months of renovations, The Dwarf House in Hapeville, Ga., on Thursday reopened with a new modern exterior and drive-thru.


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Chick-fil-A Employee, and former NFL Player, Who Opened the First CFA Mall Drive Thru Opens His Own Chick-fil-A Franchise

Congratulations to David Snow on the upcoming grand opening of the first Chick-fil-A-Franchise in Marshall, TX.


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Shake Shack raising prices, focusing on drive-thru

The chain will also raise prices on third-party delivery services, ensuring that those customers pay between 10 and 15% more than in-Shack guests.


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Shake Shack burger chain plans open its first Richmond-area location next year - and it will have a drive-thru

The restaurant will have 3,200 square feet of interior space and 1,200 square feet of exterior space including having a drive-thru. Having a drive-thru is unusual as the chain only has three restaurants with a drive-thru after opening the first one in December.


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Whataburger Opening in Colorado Springs

New location will include a double drive-thru.


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Chipotle Opens 3000th Location

Chipotle Mexican Grill footprint continues to grow as it focuses more on digital orders and drive-thrus. In Phoenix, the quick-service restaurant chain has opened its 3,000th location. The location includes the brand's digital order, drive thru pick-up lane, called Chipotlane.


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Chipotle opens new Utah location with drive-thru lane

This new Chipotlane will be Utah's fourth drive-thru with others located in Provo, Cedar City and South Jordan.


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I Heart Mac N Cheese opening drive-thru location

South Florida-based I Heart Mac & Cheese is opening its first drive-up pickup window location next week in Gulfport, Mississippi. Dubbed, "FastMac," the store will allow guests to order via the restaurant's app and grab orders at the window without leaving their cars.


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Reno's new In-N-Out burger opening this month; city gets its first 'Chipotlane' drive-thru

From Cracker Barrel to In-N-Out and a new Chipotle drive-thru, here’s a list of what’s coming to Reno’s West End Commons center and when.


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Newk's rolls out drive-thru prototype

Mississippi-based Newk's Eatery is making its Fort Smith, Arkansas, debut next week with its first drive-thru prototype.


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Drive-thru Starbucks nixed by Hermosa Beach planning commission

The panel voted unanimously to deny a conditional use permit for the coffee shop at 204 Pacific Coast Highway.


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Barnstable, Massachusetts Town Council Votes Down Starbucks Drive-Thru Plans

The Barnstable Town Council on Thursday turned down allowing developer Stuart Bornstein to put a Starbucks drive-thru window at the airport rotary.


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Oakley, CA nixes McDonald’s drive-thru across from school

Residents flood council with comments on proposed fast-food restaurant.


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New drive-thru coffee shop operated out of tiny home opens

Christie’s Coffee, located at 709 Edgefield Road in North Augusta, is a shop based out of a tiny home.


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Smokey Bones launching first drive-thru

Smokey Bones, which has 61 full-service locations in 16 states, is adding a digital drive-thru lane to its restaurants with the first opening in April in Bowling Green, Kentucky.


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Take a Spin Through Smokey Bones' Game-Changing Drive-Thru

A casual-dining chain with a full-on, digital-enabled drive-thru? Smokey Bones is making it happen.


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Ken Hoffman looks back on two decades of drive-thru reviews

Ken wrote more than 1,200 reviews of bacon cheeseburgers, sausage pizzas, and golden fried pig’s ears. For several yearshe was the most-read food critic in America because dozens of papers around the country ran his reviews.


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What Would You Do? Stuck in a Drive-Thru

It isn't uncommon for a drive-thru to have a curb blocking people into a lane, creating you to be stuck if some emergency were to come up while you wait in line. Should these curbs be taken out and what do you do to get out of line when stuck?


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