Dating back to the 1920s, drive-thrus have served as the top contender for distributing food to customers. Nine out of the top ten restaurants in The QSR 50 have drive-thrus, and drive-thru pickups make up for an average of 70 percent of annual quick-service restaurant sales.
With dine-in areas closing across the nation in response to COVID-19, drive-thrus, takeout, and delivery are in a prime position to thrive during the pandemic. These restaurants include Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, and Taco Bell, all of which implemented safety procedures to protect both guests and employees. Drive-thrus offer an advantage to customers as it supports social distancing, contactless service, and quick order fulfillment. Drive-thrus accounted for 46 percent of all restaurant occasions for the month of April.
With the difficulty in obtaining a conditional use permit in California, paired with the halt in construction brought on by the outbreak, the value of drive-thrus is soaring.
Matthews™ details how drive-thrus evolved from a road trip staple to the lifeline of restaurants during the pandemic.