Applebee’s is Testing its First Drive-Thru Location

This article written by Mark Hamstra with Nation’s Restaurant News.

An Applebee’s franchise operator is retrofitting a location in Texarkana, Texas, with a drive-thru pickup window that the franchisor hopes will provide insights for future store design and takeout procedures.

“We look forward to assessing the performance of this installation, understanding feedback from our guests and operators, as well as any impact to business performance,” said Scott Gladstone, vice president of strategy and development at Applebee’s Grill + Bar. “If positive, we will determine whether pickup windows should be included in our building design packages.”

The location, operated by Texarkana-based franchisee Apple Arkansas, will allow customers to order and pay online or via mobile app, or order by phone and pay in person at the window when they pick up their order. Customers will be given an estimated pickup time after they place their order. The window is slated to open early this year.

Applebee’s, which along with sister chain IHOP is owned by Glendale, Calif.-based Dine Brands Global, had already developed a robust takeout offering through its Applebee’s To Go service before the pandemic began last year. Restrictions on in-store dining in markets around the country beginning last March have led Applebee’s and other operators to place renewed focus on off-premises consumption, however, leading to the creation of new, dedicated order pickup areas and the addition of contactless curbside pickup zones at many restaurants.

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