Coronavirus pandemic sparks a building boom for restaurant drive-thrus


A vehicle stands in a drive-thru line at a Starbucks Corp. store in El Cerrito, California, U.S., on Wednesday, June 10, 2020.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The last drive-thru boom was the 1970s. The next one could be the 2020s. 

Starbucks, Chipotle Mexican Grill and Shake Shack are among the chains planning to focus on drive-thru construction in the coming months, thanks to lessons learned during the coronavirus pandemic.

Industry executives say that consumers are looking for contactless access to their favorite restaurants. Drive-thrus proved to be a lifeline for fast-food chains such as McDonald’s and Wendy’s, which reported more moderate same-store sales declines as…


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