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Chick-Fil-A is Accelerating the Addition of Mobile Pickup Lanes

Chick-fil-A mobile drive-thru

As Chick-fil-A continues to expand, the company is looking at a more targeted format strategy. That strategy apparently includes more mobile order pickup lanes. The company announced in a blog post that it plans to add its “Mobile Thru” order pickup lanes to over 300 restaurants nationwide by the end of this year.

If available, customers select “Mobile Thru” as their pickup destination and then place their order. Once they arrive at the restaurant, they follow signs to the dedicated Mobile Thru lane, use their app to scan a QR code and then pull around to receive their order.

The acceleration of the feature comes after a two-year test at select restaurants, which the company called “successful.” The Mobile Thru feature is being added in restaurants where it will optimize the experience for customers and make processes more efficient for employees, the company said, adding that 85% of customers who used the feature reported that they were more likely to use it again.

“Our hope with Mobile Thru is to help guests experience the drive-thru quicker than ever before. By dedicating one of our lanes exclusively for mobile order pickup, we are creating an easier and more efficient experience for our guests on the go,” Julie Ledford, principal program lead on Chick-fil-A’s Service and Hospitality team, said in a statement.

Ledford said the company created the new drive-thru option to alleviate long wait times, as it allows customers to order and pay ahead through the Chick-fil-A app.

“We want our customers in control of their experience. The Mobile Thru lane will give our guests access to greater speed in the drive-thru, cutting down on ordering and payment time significantly,” she said. “We are confident Mobile Thru will help guests better utilize the drive-thru.”

The company said more Mobile Thru ordering lanes are anticipated in more locations in 2024, including the company’s new elevated drive-thru design in Atlanta.

Chick-fil-A counts over 2,800 domestic locations and is on par to open over 100 restaurants this year. It has maintained that steady pace for the past three years, while digital sales have simultaneously ramped up to around 40%, and even 50% in some markets. Those digital sales have become the focal point of Chick-fil-A’s recent format tests.

“We all saw this during the pandemic, this high dependence on digital and consumers’ growth in leveraging tech to navigate their lives, and their interactions with restaurants is no exception,” Khalilah Cooper, Chick-fil-A’s executive director of restaurant design, said during a recent interview. “We want to be welcoming for all guests and how they choose to engage with us. We want to be on their terms, giving them control and creating pathways for multiple experiences.”

As digital sales have continued to grow, mobile order ahead drive-thru features have become more common, including at Taco Bell and Chipotle. Chipotle executives have noted its order-ahead Chipotlane feature generates higher sales and margins than the traditional drive-thru, and is now including it in a majority of new restaurants.

In addition to testing new restaurant formats, Chick-fil-A is also aiming to improve speed and efficiency through its new mobile app features, including geofencing technology added earlier this year.

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