Quick service, no honking
In 1946, the Second World War had just ended and the US was feeling prosperous again. People were in celebratory moods, and finally able to make big purchases, which invariably included big, shiny new cars. Thousands upon thousands of new models were sold, and as the car became an intrinsic part of people's lives, it also changed them, as well. Americans began living further from work and major cities in new areas called "suburbs", and their love affair with the car was cemented.
That year, one company recognised how dependent people had become on the car and did something that no one had done before: the Exchange National Bank in Chicago opened up the first drive-thru window to service customers. Two years later, In-N-Out Burger became the first food drive-thru establishment. Today, there are millions of drive-thrus in the US, not to mention how popular they are all over the world. Almost anywhere there are cars, there are drive-thrus.
So, why not here? Abu Dhabi is, obviously, mad about cars, just as dependent on and enamoured with them as the US. We need them, we love them, we crave them. We go everywhere in a car. And yet, there are but two actual drive-thru restaurants in the entire city - a McDonald's and a KFC. The thing is, it's not like people would rather park and go into a restaurant or other establishment. If you live in a neighbourhood with any kind of shops, you know the frustration of hearing the constant honking from drivers wanting service right to their car door. In fact, The National highlighted the problem of this dispruption of the peace in December. Sharjah has even passed laws against shops that serve people in their cars to battle this honking problem.
So, obviously, there is a demand, and considering the oppressive heat of our summers, I'd much rather stay in the air-conditioned comfort of a car instead of walk out even just a few feet to a shop or fast-food joint. And that's if you can get parking just a few feet away. Again, if you live in a neighbourhood with shops (or even other, strictly residential neighbourhoods) you'll be all too aware of the problems in finding parking spots.
So, why not just stay in your car, pick up your food or do your banking in an orderly queue, and drive off? No taking up valuable spots, no getting all damp from the heat and humidity, no leaving the confines of your beloved car. And, no honking! For this city, it's perfect; all you need is the space for a queue and a product people want. All you need to do to see my point is visit either of the aforementioned drive-thrus and marvel at how busy they are, on any night.
I think what I'm going to do is open up a coffee shop somewhere on Sheikh Zayed Road, catering to the thousands of commuters that pass by each day. It will be just a drive-thru, able to serve people in minutes. I'll make millions, I tell you. Millions. Wait a minute; why am I telling you this? email@example.com
Published: March 27, 2010 04:00 AM