The idea of "drive-thru" restaurants has been around since the 1930s. This method, where people didn’t have to get out of their car to order food, was first tested by the Texas Pig Stand-chain. The American based in-n-out Burger built the first restaurant in 1948 which was the first drive-thru restaurant. In the meantime, drive-thru restaurants have become indispensable in society. Or not? Does the growing trend of online food ordering and delivery have an effect on the existence of the ‘drive-thru’? consumers? We believe drive-thru may look different in the future, but it is certainly here to stay.
The drive-thru consumer wants a wide selection of products, quick service, high quality, convenience and accessibility. Drive-thru restaurants offer increasingly extensive menus to serve as many customers as possible.
By using better (communication) technologies, they are able to deliver orders faster. In addition, we see that drive-thru restaurants are offering longer opening hours. Many branches are open 24 hours a day.
Besides convenience, the benefits of mobile ordering and delivery are primarily focused on personalisation. Drive-thru chains are definitely not behind. For example, we see that McDonald’s, Chipotle and Starbucks have started to integrate mobile apps into the drive-thru. By doing so they are creating the new digital drive-thru.