Restaurants are adapting their drive-thrus for a post-pandemic future
In 2019, cities across the country started banning construction of new restaurant drive-thrus. But Covid changed all that. Now, many chains are quickly trying to improve their digital ordering capabilities—and restaurants are changing the drive-thru experience to include multiple lanes, digital app orders, and even artificial intelligence, The New York Times reported. A majority of Chipotle’s stores now have “Chipotlanes” exclusively for digital orders, which are made in a separate kitchen assembly line. Taco Bell is testing out dual lanes while Applebee’s and Shake Shack are opening their first ever drive-thrus. And if the pandemic didn’t already feel dystopian enough, half of Burger King’s drive-thrus are using digital menu boards with artificial intelligence to suggest foods that are popular, according to the area and weather. This year, the home of the Whopper will test out a new feature which will be able to identify customers in their loyalty program and propose items based on previous orders.