Sweetgreen will pilot a drive-in restaurant as part of suburban push

A rendering of Sweetgreen’s “drive-in” check location


Salad restaurant chain Sweetgreen will open its first location with a drive-thru lane and ordering from parking spots subsequent 12 months as it expands past cities into suburban America.

It joins the flood of restaurant firms which have unveiled new designs impressed by the coronavirus pandemic. Fast-food chains like Yum Brands’ Taco Bell and Restaurant Brands International’s Burger King have centered their new designs on making supply and digital orders much more handy.

But the fast-casual phase, which incorporates Sweetgreen and Chipotle Mexican Grill, has been influenced by the success of drive-thru lanes. Drive-thru orders grew by 24% throughout the restaurant trade in October, in response to The NPD Group. Like Sweetgreen, Shake Shack will open its first ever drive-thru lane in 2021. And Chipotle, which has been constructing its “Chipotlanes” for a number of years, is planning so as to add much more drive-thru lanes as same-store gross sales at these eating places outpace the remainder of its footprint.

A rendering of Sweetgreen’s drive-thru lane


Sweetgreen’s pilot restaurant is slated to open subsequent winter in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. Drive-thru prospects will order their salads and heat bowls forward with Sweetgreen’s cellular app.

While impressed by the pandemic, the vaccine might have already halted the unfold of Covid-19 earlier than the idea’s launch.

But, stated Chief Concept Officer Nic Jammet, “A lot of our customers already have this behavior of using the Sweetgreen app to order ahead and come in ahead to pick it up.”

Even earlier than the worldwide well being disaster, greater than 50% of Sweetgreen transactions had been digital orders, fueling enterprise capital curiosity within the privately held chain. The firm’s final funding spherical in 2019 valued it at $1.6 billion. Sweetgreen advised The New York Times that its 2019 revenues topped $300 million. Throughout the disaster, its digital channels have seen development of greater than 70%.

A rendering of Sweetgreen’s “drive-in” parking spots


Customers who wish to order from the consolation of their automobiles after they get to the restaurant will find a way to take action at devoted parking spots with intercom packing containers beneath a solar-paneled overhang, just like the ordering type at Sonic Drive-In.

Because of the variations from a conventional drive-thru restaurant, the chain is asking the design a “drive-in.” Customers who wish to eat their salads on the restaurant can both eat inside their automobiles or at an out of doors patio space. The restaurant design additionally options exterior home windows that permit drive-thru prospects to see the kitchen and meals preparation space from their automobiles.

According to Jammet, Sweetgreen has been fascinated about drive-thru lanes for years, pushed by the concept of making wholesome meals simply as handy as burgers and fries. The pilot additionally comes as the chain furthers its growth into the suburbs after spending its early years specializing in city markets.

“Definitely during Covid, our work on this accelerated, and we said, ‘Now’s our time,'” Jammet stated. “Our customers’ behavior is shifting even more rapidly … and as we move into more of these suburban areas and opening in new cities and new neighborhoods, it just seemed like something we should really focus on finally.”

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