A closed sign hangs on the door looking out to an empty restaurant during the coronavirus pandemic on April 14, 2020 in New York City.
Rob Kim | Getty Images
In March, restaurant sales fell sharply after rulers banned eating in person and consumers began to operate with an abundance of grocery stocks. After several weeks, however, a new trend prevailed, evidenced by long car driving lines around the perimeter of fast food sites.
Checkers and Rally’s was one of several fast food companies that took advantage of this shift. With more than 800 locations, it is the largest double-lane restaurant chain in the country.
“We’ve seen the most amazing year in the past,” said CEO Frances Allen. “We have recorded record gains in same store sales and created massive momentum.”
The crisis coincided with the chain renewing its roster, which helped revive sales. To keep up with the surge in demand, about two-thirds of Checkers and Rally restaurants have diverted one of their driving lanes to handle digital orders and delivery.
After decades of fast food, fast food driving lanes are the star, helping fast food chain sales recover faster than full-service brethren sales. By December, driveways accounted for 44% of orders outside of the facility across the entire restaurant industry, according to the NPD Group. With the distribution of vaccines increasing throughout the United States, the popularity of demand by driving a car appears to have steady strength, although industry experts expect it to moderate in some.
Florida, Brooksville, Chick-fil-A, fast food chicken restaurant, driving across the line because of the pandemic.
Jeff Greenberg | Global Photo Group | Getty Images
“I think as people get more vaccinations, the demand will drop from one car to the next, but I don’t think it will drop to previous levels because this increased awareness of germs is here to stay and some people are used to doing things differently now,” said Lisa. Van Kestern, CEO of SeeLevel HX, which conducts an annual lane-driving service survey.
Adrienne, a 27-year-old who lives in Wichita, Kansas, agrees. I have worked in Starbucks With a lane passing for several months.
She said, “Pre-order, delivery and in person may fluctuate, but driving by is an everlasting necessity.”
Other SUV workers say the extra pressure of their jobs seems unlikely to stop for months. Randy, a 30-year-old who works in Michigan, said he wants to quit his job many times, and his site has a very high turnover rate. According to him, the focus has shifted from communicating with clients to making sure orders are filled out in less than a minute.
Bigger volume, bigger orders The average drive slowed down by 29.8 seconds, According to SeeLevelHX’s 2020 study, which was conducted June through August using mystery shoppers. Kentucky owned by Yum Brands, Topped the list and was one of the few chains that managed to shorten the times.
U.S. chain president and chief concept officer Kevin Hochman has credited the Kentucky family’s packing buckets, which saw double-digit growth last year. Hochman is also the interim US president for Pizza Hut, the sister chain of Kentucky Fried Chicken. In response to the higher ticket average, KFC added a $ 30 filling deal to its list to tackle the trend of larger orders.
Cars wait in line when driving through the Yum Corridor! Brands Ink Kentucky Fried Chicken (Kentucky) and Taco Bell Restaurant in Lockport, Illinois, US
Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images
“Packing a bucket of 12 pieces against a bucket of eight is very easy to do, versus making eight sandwiches – it’s a completely different model,” said Hochman, adding that other fast food chains are now adding more value meals to their menus.
Hochman predicts that some vehicle-to-car traffic is due to the KFC lobbies where consumers are vaccinated. The fried chicken chain is testing small cubes, with the expectation that their customers will search for faster ways to get their food after the pandemic.
The shift in demand for the car has also increased competition between the fast food and fast food sectors. Strings like Sweetgreen and Shake Shack You have Announce plans to add driving lanes. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Which has been offering its driving lanes only for digital orders, said it would speed up plans to add more “Chipotlanes” to its footprint.
But even before the pandemic, fast food chains were investing in their driving lanes, giving them the upper hand. McDonald’s It has spent more than $ 300 million on Dynamic Yield, an artificial intelligence company that will help the company get customers to spend more. (The company is now exploring selling Dynamic Yield’s third-party business.)
These investments to make driving lanes more efficient have only accelerated in the past year. Strings like KFC and International brands restaurant Burger King has designed new restaurant layouts that highlight the drive and lower pathway into smaller dining rooms.
The Burger King Next Level kitchen suspended over the driving corridors
Source: Burger King
John Kelly, chief operating officer at Arby, said Inspire Brands has been working to make their production more efficient over the past three to five years. Many of its kitchens are now working with two groups of workers gathering orders to keep up with the influx.
“We definitely didn’t upgrade all of our restaurants during Covid,” Kelly said. “There wasn’t enough time or manpower to do that, but we were already on our way, and we accelerated that in 2020.” “And we will continue to upgrade the ones in our restaurants for sure as there is volume today but also in the future.”
Van Kesteren pointed to automation as another big trend that stems from increased driving demands during a crisis. McDonald’s and White Castle are testing an AI program with the goal of receiving driving orders with greater speed and accuracy.
“Previously, automation was being explored and fully automated driveways and kiosks were being tested, but this greatly speeded this up,” she said.
Kelly said Arby’s is investing in technology that will be better able to inform general managers how to hire employees for a restaurant with the fluctuations of traffic. During the busiest time during the pandemic, Arby’s has tasked many restaurant workers to focus on one task, whether it be taking orders or filling drinks.
“So they don’t always try to catch up with where the business is headed,” he said, “but they are actually moving forward with it.” “I think we’ve learned a lot from that during Covid, and we’ll keep moving forward.”