The opening of a Greggs drive-through in Greater Manchester offers a world of possibilities for others.
News surfaced last week that Greggs, the pies, sarnies and sausage rolls merchant, has opened a drive-through branch in Salford.
This makes a welcome departure from the norm for a high street stalwart that remains popular up and down the land.
It also begs the question, is this a form of convenience that could appeal to an even wider audience?
The Greggs product range is relatively narrow and it is therefore pretty straightforward to launch a drive-through proposition.
That said, if the 80/20 rule – whereby 80% of sales come from 20% of products – is applied, then surely it could be a runner for a host of retailers.
“A drive-through Selfridges might beckon, just beyond Burger King”
Something of the kind underpins the new Argos shop-in-shops in large branches of Sainsbury’s, where only the top-selling items are available over the counter (although everything else can be quickly expedited).
But taking this idea and putting it within reach of motorists is one step further.
So what might prove amenable for drive-through shoppers?
How about a luxury drive-through?
You never know when you might be headed for a function and realise that you’ve forgotten those cufflinks or that necklace.
On this reckoning, a drive-through Selfridges might beckon, just beyond Burger King.
“There is almost nothing, other than big ticket items, that might not be responsive to a drive-through approach”
Or how about a Missguided outpost? Your passenger could browse the drive-through part of the site and choose something, which would be ready for you to collect when you stop for a comfort break on the M4, thereby making click and collect ultra convenient.
And if this sounds extreme, the same would probably have been thought to be the case prior to the opening of the Greggs outlet.
Drive-through to the future
All of this would rely heavily on slick logistics and rapid service, but if the product offer is restricted, there seems little reason to imagine that it would not find favour.
In truth, there is almost nothing, other than big ticket items, that might not be responsive to a drive-through approach. And set-up costs would be reasonable at a time when budgets are under pressure.
Big service stations on the motorways are full of people on the move and it’s almost certain that they will have forgotten something.
The trick is defining what that might be and making it available.
I’m off for a drive-through ‘Steak Bake’ now. You know it makes sense.