Smashburger has opened a virtual drive-thru at a corporate-owned restaurant in Houston.
An extension of the traditional drive-thru experience, the virtual drive-thru allows customers to place an order online or through the Smashburger app, then pull through the designated parking lane, where their food will be delivered by a Smashburger team member. First introduced at the beginning of 2022, the prototype, coupled with Smashburger’s refreshed kitchen design, reinforces the brand’s commitment to innovation and staying in lockstep with the increased consumer demand for convenience and accessibility, according to Carl Bachman, president of Smashburger.
“Smashburger wants to meet our customers where they want to be met, and the increased use of mobile ordering has led us to this new Virtual Drive Thru design,” he said in a press release. “We understand consumers’ need for convenience, and speed of service as a result of ever-evolving dining habits stemming from the pandemic. This design provides both. By adding this element, our franchisees have more flexibility in their site selection process, and assurance that guest demand is consistently being met. We are excited to partner with experienced operators to open additional Smashburger virtual drive-thrus across the country.”
Smashburger’s virtual drive-thru implements Curbit’s digital ordering system that gives guests an exact wait time for their order and ability to track the order accurately from start to finish. With the wait time reduction, the technology increases customer satisfaction with a 30% lift in customer repeat rate. It not only allows a streamlined operation, but also offers a more contactless experience and is more environmentally friendly as it reduces traffic congestion and carbon emissions by minimizing the amount of time customers spend idling in the car.
“With the new virtual drive-thru prototype providing real-time updates on order status and estimated wait times, customers can make informed decisions about their time and schedule,” Veronica Luna, director of digital business channels at Smashburger, said in the release. “Although this new technology will work to streamline the customer experience, it will also provide significant benefits to our franchisees including increased speed of service, improved order accuracy, and reduced labor costs.”
Founded in 2007 in Denver, Colorado, Smashburger has over 340 locations.