A popular fast food chain is considering transitioning to drive-thru only restaurants, which would make it much much harder for their truck driver customers to get a Frosty.
Wendy’s CEO Todd Penego said on a call on Wednesday that the company has a “new appetite to look at drive-thru-only restaurants” as the chain deals with the lingering impact of the pandemic.
And Wendy’s isn’t the only fast food restaurant chain that has signaled a desire to put more resources toward the drive-thru side of their businesses — Burger King, Dunkin’, Taco Bell, Starbucks, and Tim Hortons have all expressed interest in shifting towards drive-thru service rather than serving customers in dining rooms.
The problem posed for the trucking community by closed restaurant dining rooms was highlighted during the early days of the Coronavirus crisis when many states required restaurants to close their dine-in options. Truckers who were providing the toilet paper, hamburger, and other desperately needed items to grocery stores found themselves struggling to find a meal. The problem was so acute that some local police departments actually stepped in to try make sure that truckers passing through their cities were fed.
While the switch to drive-thru may make sense for a large portion of fast food customers, the millions of members of the trucking community could find themselves locked out of a quick and cost effective meal option due to the fact that semis simply won’t fit in your average drive-thru.
And if drivers get hungry and foolhardy enough, they might even try to take their vehicles through the drive-thru — whether or not they fit.
While looking for solutions would align with fast food’s desire to shift toward drive-thru while keeping truck drivers fed, we noticed that there ARE fast food restaurant locations in the U.S. that have gone above and beyond to overcome spatial challenges to make sure that large vehicles can fit into their drive-thrus.
A Wendy’s location in Limon, Colorado has a semi-friendly drive-thru.
And a Sonic location in Fordyce, Arkansas has made multiple changes to make sure that they can accommodate trucking customers, including a drive-thru option.
The Sonic in Valiant, Oklahoma, also has a trucker-friendly drive-thru.