Starbucks opens first drive-through outlet in India prompted by COVID-19 pandemic

INDIA – Tata Starbucks, the joint venture between Tata Consumer Products and Starbucks Corporation has opened the first drive through outlet in India on the Ambala-Chandigarh Expressway in Zirakpur, Punjab.

To introduce the drive-through concept and engage with customers, the coffee outlet launched a digital marketing campaign with the tagline “Why wait for your brew, when you can drive-thru?”

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The launch comes at a time when the corona virus pandemic has hit the dine in facility of restaurants and people are opting for takeaways and home delivery, keeping with the physical distancing protocol.

Since restrictions were relaxed across the country amid the pandemic, Starbucks resumed operations with 50 percent seating capacity and social distancing at select outlets in Delhi, Surat, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Kolkata. It also restarted home delivery and take out services across stores in India.

The milestone demonstrates the company’s long-term commitment to the Indian market, where it now has 187 stores, and a vision of offering more ways for customers in India to enjoy the Starbucks Experience, reports restaurant india.

“Tata Starbucks has had an incredible journey in India, and we are proud to have achieved yet another milestone. The opening of our first drive-thru store showcases our commitment to evolving our brand and business in India and providing new and meaningful experiences to our customers,” said Navin Gurnaney, CEO, Tata Starbucks Pvt. Ltd.

“The new store fits perfectly with our norms of social distancing and encourages people to engage with the Starbucks brand in a safe way,” he added.

Quick-service-restaurants such as McDonald’s, KFC and Burger King are also ramping up and scouting for drive-through locations in the country.

According to reports by The Economic Times, the McDonald’s franchisee for north and east India currently operates 29 drive-through restaurants.

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“At a McDonald’s drive-through, a customer spends around 60-90 seconds between order placement and receiving their order at the next window. This allows our restaurants to serve more customers faster,” a spokesperson for McDonald’s North and East said.

Yum! Brands-owned KFC India has introduced kerbside delivery, where food is handed over to customers in their cars or two-wheelers within the vicinity of the restaurant. KFC offers this service at 150 of its 350 restaurants in the country.

“We plan to extend it to other restaurants over the next couple of months,” said KFC chief marketing officer Moksh Chopra.

He said the initial consumer response been encouraging, with a “steady increase” in sales even though the concept is new. Pizza Hut also has intensified kerbside deliveries at many outlets.

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