March 3, 2008

Drive-Thrus Could Face Difficult Future

A number of Canadian cities are looking at banning, regulating, or studying the environmental impacts of drive-thru restaurants, EcoSpace reports.

The cities, including North Vancouver, BC, Edmonton, AB, King’s County, NS, and Toronto, Peterborough, London, Ajax, Mississauga, and Sarnia, ON, are worried about the environmental damage caused by idling vehicles.

It’s not just Canada, either. In the U.S., two cities in California and one in North Carolina have imposed moratoriums on drive-thrus as a result of similar initiatives, according to the article.

But not everyone is convinced on the effectiveness of such bans. A study by consulting firm RWDI, paid for by North American coffee and donut chain Tim Hortons, concludes that cars idling in a drive-thru are less harmful than having the engines shut off for a few minutes and then restarted.

The stakes can be huge. Most Burger Kings, for example, generate between 50 and 60 percent of their daily total sales averages at the drive-thru, and The National Restaurant Association’s 2007 Quickservice Restaurant Survey reveals that 89 percent of operators believe their drive-thrus will represent an even larger portion of sales in 2008, QSRWeb reports.


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