Sweetgreen pilots a new venture that includes its first drive-thru location in the United States. The new location could set the stage for a future focus on non-city consumers and an extended presence around the country.
Sweetgreen’s first drive-thru location in Highlands Ranch, Colorado will kick off in early 2021. The restaurant signals the start of Sweetgreen’s new strategy to engage suburban American consumers. Not only will the fast-casual restaurant brand move beyond cities, but it hopes to connect with health conscious consumers looking to eat restaurant meals at home. The restaurant industry saw a 24% increase in drive-thru orders during 2020, so the addition of drive-thrus to its suburban restaurants could help Sweetgreen retain consumer interest and level itself against competitors like Chipotle and Panera. Sweetgreen is not the only restaurant focusing on accessibility, as Burger King, Taco Bell, and Shake Shack are also redesigning their brick and mortar spaces to make delivery and digital ordering more practical.
By expanding its restaurant services and locations in the new year, Sweetgreen can further meet consumers wherever they are. As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to keep consumers home or reliant on delivery, according to a Gartner report, Sweetgreen’s drive-thru location could help draw them into its stores, even if it’s from the safety of their cars. With its first location in Colorado, Sweetgreen plans to have a drive-thru lane, a drive-in area for in-car ordering, and a lane for those who order via the app for pick-up. The plethora of options could help Sweetgreen promote convenience to consumers as well as maintain the relevance of its mobile app, which accounts for roughly 50% of Sweetgreen’s current orders. The accessibility of both in-person and mobile ordering options could also help Sweetgreen appeal to more suburban consumers, who prior to its drive-thru launch may not have had a reason to download the brand’s app. However, by bringing its restaurants to non-city consumers, Sweetgreen could now capture a new customer base who could be driven to not only use its app but also join its loyalty program.
Sweetgreen’s new drive-thru endeavor allows it to expand its presence around the country while meeting consumer demand for convenience during the Coronavirus pandemic. As eating and shopping habits are predicted to permanently change due to the crisis, updating its own restaurant amenities could help Sweetgreen refresh its strategy and sustain sales for the long term..