Drive-thru ordering surged during the pandemic. Here’s what comes next


A closed sign hangs on the door with a view of the empty restaurant during the coronavirus pandemic on April 14, 2020 in New York City.

Rob Kim | Getty Images

Last March, restaurant sales sharply fell after governors banned in-person dining and consumers began working through their glut of stockpiled groceries. But after several weeks, a new trend took hold, illustrated by long drive-thru lines that wrapped around the perimeter of fast-food locations.

Checkers and Rally’s was one of the many fast-food companies that benefited from the shift. With more than 800 locations, it’s the largest restaurant chain with double drive-thru lanes in the country.

“We had the most tremendous year last…


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