Drive Through Options Are Not Just for Fast Food Restaurants Anymore

Author: Angie Seguin, P.E., LEED AP 

Prior to Covid-19, Businesses have been adapting to shifting consumer purchasing and shopping trends. Most grocery stores were already starting to offer curbside pickup and delivery options. These convenience services appeal to both millennial and senior age groups.

Brick and mortar retail stores are slowly evolving into a showroom concept for trying and testing products prior to buying them online. Retailers are also progressively offering buy online/pick up in store options due to competition from Amazon and other similar online services. However, providing this additional service causes stress on small receiving areas already at capacity with storing existing in-store products. This drives a need for retail stores to reorganize their store layout to create larger receiving areas with smaller customer shopping space. Some Retailers are even incorporating this new concept into their corporate prototype layouts. Drive through lanes with canopies and separate pick-up area entrances are a better option versus picking up in-store. The curbside pickup areas can be as simple as a parking space with signage. An improved customer experience could be achieved by a weather protection canopy, loading ramps and touch screens or call button keypads. These types of improvements would require coordination with many A/E disciplines and possibly jurisdictional approval for exterior modifications. Many Retailers now considered “non-essential” under Covid-19 regulations could benefit from curbside pickup areas. These areas will not require customer store access or even require customers to leave their cars. This may be just one opportunity for A/E firms to help their retail clients prosper through the current economic challenge.

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