More retailers and restaurants are putting greater emphasis on their drive-thru and curbside business. Consumers are relying on drive-thrus to feel safer and avoid contact with people during the pandemic. As such, firms are focusing on drive-thru and curbside strategies as they ponder a post-pandemic world.
Starbucks recently announced it will open an additional 22,000 stores by 2030, but they likely will look different. Only 35% of current Starbucks stores have a drive-thru, but that is expected to grow to 45% by 2023, BisNow.com reports. Starbucks announced earlier this year that it was closing 400 of its stores nationwide, as the pandemic changed its consumers’ needs.
Fast-food chain Chipotle announced it would be expanding its drive-thru format from 100 stores to 1,000 by 2025. The company saw a 60% uptick in digital orders this summer. Noodles & Company announced that its “order ahead” program, enabling customers to order online and pick up in the drive-thru, will become a greater focus. Seventy percent of the company’s new locations will include the program. Shake Shack is touting a three-lane drive-thru design for 2021, which includes walk-up windows and dedicated delivery courier pickup areas.
A survey by Bluedot in August found that consumers are more comfortable with companies that offer contactless options along with signage of sanitation and safety information. Curbside pickup is also rising in importance for restaurants and retailers. It’s growing more common, and consumers have become more accepting of it, the Bluedot survey shows.
Consumers are showing less patience for carryout or in-store pickup. Sixty-seven percent of guests viewed waiting six minutes or more as too long and frustrating for in-store pickup, a Bluedot survey shows. Seventy-two percent surveyed say they experience fear and/or anxiety over walking into a store or restaurant. Survey respondents view drive-thrus as the safest way to engage with stores, at 38%, followed by curbside (21%) and in-store pick-up (9%).
Source: National Association of Realtors, Realtor Magazine
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