A new Chick-fil-a store in Houston has the city's first fully manned, double drive-through. The fascinating feature of this drive-through is the second, or 'remote' lane.
In the 'remote' lane you pull up to the window of a booth that is not part of the main building. There is a person to greet you at this drive-through window, but how does the food get to this booth you ask? The food is transported in a basket on a conveyor belt along the roof from the main restaurant to the booth; the food & drinks are kept upright by a gyroscopic mechanism.
This new Chick-fil-A is huge, with 165 seats inside and patio seating for 32.
An article in the Houston Chronicle also tells of the restaurant's "breathtaking design...bold, sweeping lines and risk-taking use of windows."
Unless I'm missing something, I don't think this is actually a new development in the fast-food world.
I've been to a few on the south side of Chicago (White Castle and Taco Bell) that use a very similar, if slightly lower-tech, system. When you pull up, there's a metal tray with a cup where you put your money; the tray's lifted up, over, and down to the person who's manning the closer-in lane; then they put the food on the tray, which again is lifted up, over, and down.
They talk about this in the Fast Food Nation as being around in the 30's and 40's, it's called the Motormat
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