Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Fast Food is Getting Faster


What’s for dinner?  In the United States 63.2% of all US households are comprised of one or two people and according the Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® increasingly consumers are turning into a drive-thru for a fresh fast meal at dinner time.

In fact, according to the NPD GroupIn the quarter ended June 2020, 42% of all restaurant transactions occurred at a drive-thru, an increase of 26% over year ago.”   Sure, we all know that COVID-19 has created a health crisis; in turn it has accelerated pre-pandemic trends to evolve drive-thru lanes for contactless pickup of mobile orders. What does that say about the future of the Drive-Thru?

The team at Foodservice Solutions® was the first to talk about the time saving benefits of drive-thru within the grocerant niche, and expanded his findings headlining the Saint Joseph’s University Food Summit in 2015, titled Fresh Thinking in Food Marketing.

SeeLevel HX, which produced the annual QSR Drive-Thru study, to address evolving car lanes at an upcoming MUFSO session. Has incremental insights that Nancy Luna share in an article on NRN. Let’s see wat Seelevel HX found and Nancy reported:

“Up until the past year, innovation at the drive-thru has been largely scarce. But that’s about to change as McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Shake Shake and Burger King are developing modern drive-thru lanes to fit the needs of today's consumer.

One of the biggest developments: the rise of car lanes dedicated for mobile pick up orders -- a pre-pandemic trend that has accelerated due to the coronavirus crisis, according to Lisa van Kesteren, CEO of SeeLevel HX…..

Taco Bell announced plans in August to open smaller footprint stores that cater to on-the-go consumers looking for double drive-thrus and curbside pickup. 

In September, Burger King unveiled two new “Restaurant of Tomorrow” designs that cater to COVID trends. The prototypes provide as many as three drive-thru lanes, curbside pickup, lockers for mobile and delivery orders and walkup options for carryout orders.

New York City-based Shake Shack has created a new format store called Shack Track. The restaurants, either new builds or modified stores, will have drive-thru lanes and/or walk-up windows.  Shake Shack plans to convert about 8 to 10 existing stores into Shack Tracks over the next few months. The first conversion occurred recently at a downtown Los Angeles location, which was modified with a walk-up window. The company is also adding curbside pickup options. 

SeeLevel’s van Kesteren said the way chains look at drive-thrus is changing due to COVID. When jurisdictions closed dining rooms to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus in March, drive-thrus became a key ordering channel. Brands also directed customers to use drive-thru lanes to pick up mobile orders, which complicated matters over the last six months and led to stalled speed of service times.

That’s why brands like Taco Bell and Burger King are rethinking how they use drive-thrus in the future. “I would not be surprised to see them adding a second kitchen and maybe having a different drive through lines” for mobile orders, she said.”

The fact is consumer are time starved, and they want fast food to become a fast experience again.  How many cars can do you get through your drive-thru in one minute? In 5 minutes? In 10 Minutes?

Don’t over reach. Are you ready for some fresh ideations? Do your food marketing ideations look more like yesterday than tomorrow? Interested in learning how Foodservice Solutions® can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization?  Email us at: Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us or visit us on our social media sites by clicking the following links: Facebook,  LinkedIn, or Twitter

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