Smokey Bones’ decision to offer a dedicated drive-thru lane with digital control seems to be in line with a growing trend in the world of fast-casual dining. Recently, QSR discussed the rise of restaurant technology, particularly in the area of artificial intelligence (AI). While digital ordering is just a slice of larger conversations, companies that can take advantage of the space could see the bottom line benefits. As customers see convenience, restaurants see a way to increase order accuracy, maximize production, and create food consistency.
In his own statement to FSR, Hal Lawlor, COO of Smokey Bones, said he and his team are “excited to lead this initiative in [Bowling Green, Kentucky] as our first drive-thru” and are “committed to the community and proud of [GM] Casey Turner and the leadership team who will lead the way in preparing staff for the new operational opportunities that come with a drive-thru.”
Since digital ordering forces customers to order and grab their food, it makes sense that the physical establishment reflects the evolution of the fast casual concept. While some people may wonder if this increased delivery is just a response to staffing shortages, the reality is that “hub” isn’t a term that’s going away anytime soon. Where restaurants used to have signs that said, no shirt, no shoes, no service, now those requirements may not apply as customers grab that slice of ribs from the drive-thru window.