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Log In / Register | Aug 14, 2018

Drive-thrus Keep Driving On

I took note of all the articles about the slowing of drive-thru service times and felt I had nothing to say about them.  I personally have always thought of drive-thrus as being “the big lie” of customer service.  It’s alluring, yes.  It keeps you comfortable, for sure.  If you have kids it solves all sorts of problems.  But I have long thought that for a truly quick trip to any foodservice establishment, go to the walk-up counter.

Such an attitude could easily be described as being “un-American.”  Indeed, my European colleagues still look somewhat disdainfully at the American habit of buying and eating food in our cars.  But that’s changing.  In an environment where every foodservice market in Europe is still pretty safely below their 2008 levels of demand, according to NPD’s CREST foodservice market research, drive-thru traffic is up across-the-board.  In battered and bruised Italy and Spain, drive-thru traffic was up by about half from 2008 to 2012.

Who’s un-American now?

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About Bob O'Brien

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Bob O’Brien is global senior vice president for market researcher The NPD Group, foodservice sector. He joined NPD’s foodservice division in 1987. He has been responsible for driving foodservice analysis outside the United States, leading the launch of CREST® Japan, China, Australia and the new CREST® Mexico pilot project. Bob speaks frequently to industry and management groups. He can be reached at the NPD Group.

Mr. O'Brien's column on foodservice is syndicated to Blue MauMau by permission of The NPD Group.

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