What say, fuzzy britches?

From CityTV:

Drive-thrus have become a way of life in car conscious Toronto, as busy GTA residents find they don’t have the time to even get out of their vehicles for a coffee or a hamburger. But what are they doing to the environment and how would you feel if local politicians made a move to either curb them or eliminate them altogether?

I’d question the environmental impact of eliminating the drive-thru. It seems to me it wouldn’t reduce the demand for coffee (could also be hamburgers, etc., but I’ll use coffee as my example here), so you’d have three net effects:

  1. People parking their car at the curb and idling while they run in for coffee. If it’s true that drive-thru wait times are less than counter wait times (and I assume it is) then the result is more pollution.
  2. People circling the block to find parking before running in; this circling means needless driving time, resulting in more pollution.
  3. The above two effects causing more traffic congestion in the vicinity of coffee shops, again resulting in more pollution.

If you believe that removing a drive-thru will reduce the overall demand for coffee, then maybe this model works (for the environment, but certainly not for the business). If you think demand would stay the same, then the model only works if you believe customers will stop driving to Tim Horton’s and will walk there instead, and I’d bet pretty hard against that.

Anyone disagree? Are my assumptions off?

And just out of curiosity, what marketing jackass invented the word thru?


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[tags]toronto drive-thrus, jailbreak, bikini posters, shawshank redemption[/tags]

0 thoughts on “What say, fuzzy britches?

  1. On the drive-thru (gah!) thing: the model also works if demand stays the same, and people still drive but park their car when getting their coffee. You seem to think that everyone will leave their car idling at the curb. I think that will only happen in busy downtown areas when there’s someone else to stay in the car. You don’t leave your car running if you’re alone. And there are many coffee shops out of the downtown core that do have ample parking, either on-street or in their own lot.

    I don’t have the stats or studies to prove that eliminating drive-thrus would reduce emissions, but my gut tells me it would. People would park their cars, get out, do their banking, get their coffee, buy a paper, get back in their car and go. Just like they used to.

  2. Well, I kind of addressed this in my second point: driving around to look for some place to park. Maybe they won’t be circling the block, but they’ll be circling the parking lot. There’s still an environmental impact there; the question is whether looking for a parking space burns more fuel than waiting in a drive-thru line.

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