Why food on the go might be the way of the future

Australia’s “on the go” food culture is growing, with several popular food and drink brands introducing drive-through stores for the convenience of time-poor consumers.

Boost Juice opened its first drive-through store on Friday as one of the first “healthy” branded Australian businesses to tap into a service concept which came to Australia in the late 1970s.

And Boost is not the only brand expanding into the drive-through market in Australia.

Mad Mex spokesman Michael Savvas said the drive-through concept was “definitely on our radar”.

“We are in the process of reviewing our operational procedures and are also looking at packaging which are both instrumental in rolling out a drive-through concept,” he said.

Salsa’s opened a single drive-through site in Brooklyn Park, South Australia, in 2015 and admitted it was interested in exploring similar opportunities in the future.

Gloria Jean’s general manager Damien Zivkovich said the company had opened six drive-through stores in Queensland between 2013 and 2017, with “expansion plans slated to focus on convenience through the innovative drive-through model”.

Subway has 20 to 30 drive-through stores across the country and was “always looking for new opportunities to expand our network through a variety of store formats, including drive-through”.

Melbourne University’s Anish Nagpal, an associate professor in marketing with an interest in consumer behaviour and food, told The New Daily there was a high demand for food on the go in Australia.

“Drive-throughs are on the rise in Australia and it’s becoming more and more competitive. People are busy and so consumers are more and more being drawn to quick, on the go options,” he said.

“Something can also be said about the experience itself of eating or drinking a coffee in the car.

“And it’s not just in Australia. Some studies show that in the US – where drive-throughs are very popular – up to 40 per cent of customers are accessing a brand’s products purely via drive-throughs.”

Assoc Prof Nagpal warned companies that market their brand as “healthy” to be wary of drive-throughs which have traditionally been associated with unhealthy products.

“Traditionally drive-throughs are associated with unhealthy food. From a consumer psychology perspective, the drive-through concept does not align with Boost’s health-food brand in my perspective,” he said.

“If it’s about being healthy, this might sound wild but the brand should offer ‘jog-throughs’ at the drive-through store so that the brand is still promoting exercise and health.”

Boost Juice founder Janine Allis told The New Daily a drive-through store had been a long time coming.

It had received on average one request a day from customers asking about when Boost would launch a drive-through service.

“People want to find more minutes in the day and it helps people save time while they’re on the road,” she said.

“The drive-through concept is not new. But people want choice.

“Drive-through opens businesses up to impulse buyers. People want to get their daily intake of fruit and veggies and are finding it harder to do.”

Ms Allis said that when her four children were younger and playing up in the car, picking up a snack at a drive-through would help keep them quiet for half an hour on long drives.

Boost Juice is looking for more locations to expand its drive-through service across Australia and possibly service station sites.

The new Amazon Fresh grocery has provided consumers another glimpse into what the future might look like for the food retail industry.

The drive-through service involves staff packaging groceries ready to be packed into the customer’s car within minutes.

Domino’s Pizza has also announced that it will begin using self-driving robots to deliver its pizzas in Europe.

Originally published at The New Daily.

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About Alana Mitchelson

Alana Mitchelson is a journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Follow her on Twitter at @AlanaMitchelson.

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