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This Fast-Food Chain May Be Opening Drive-Thru-Only Restaurants

Going all in on the drive-thru is a popular expansion strategy among fast-food giants.

Judging by the latest sales numbers reported by Wendy's, the chain's breakfast is a super popular morning option across the country. So popular, in fact, that it has helped the chain garner the highest same-store sales in more than 15 years. All this during a pandemic. It's no wonder, then, that the company is eyeing an expansion of their locations, and is dreaming up a brand-new type of restaurant to employ.

According to CEO Todd Penegor, Wendy's may be looking at opening drive-thru-only restaurants in the near future, reports Forbes. Much like Taco Bell's innovative renderings for Taco Bell Go Mobile locations, Wendy's is apparently already creating some prototypes for their locations focused on drive-thru traffic, and will continue to test their options on that front, Penegor said in the latest earnings call. (Related: 9 Restaurant Chains That Closed Hundreds of Locations This Summer.)

The chain currently operates restaurants of varying sizes, from traditional freestanding locations with 65-plus seats to the Smart 2.0 design with 30 seats, as well as some models in between, according to Forbes.

"I think it is important to have [a] portfolio of restaurants of different sizes to really make sure that we've got solutions for any trade area that's out there," Penegor explained.

Wendy's and Taco Bell join a pool of other competitors setting their sights on drive-thru expansion and real estate innovation. Del Taco has announced there are drive-thru-only location plans in their pipeline, Shake Shack is opening their very first drive-thru windows, and Burger King's new design looks to downsize the average restaurant by 60% and add curbside delivery and food lockers.

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Mura Dominko
Mura is a Deputy Editor leading ETNT's coverage of America's favorite fast foods and restaurant chains. Read more