There is almost every kind of drive-through.
From banking and booze to marriage, groceries and restaurants; people have fewer reasons then ever to leave the car.
Vehicles are now not only a mode of transportation, but a dining room too.
For me, there is little more American in than the drive-through. It’s the symbol of ultimate laziness.
How far gone are we that we are too rushed to park and walk several metres into a restaurant.
It turns out fast food isn’t fast enough. We need it to be faster.
The first restaurant drive-through was founded in 1946, an In-N-Out Burger in California. Since then, drive-throughs have flourished and are found worldwide.
According to a study by the NDP Group, a U.S. market research company, up to 70 per cent of a restaurant’s profits come from the drive-through window. And they are becoming more and more popular.
But there are 27 municipalities in Canada that have either banned drive-throughs, or made it difficult for business owners to install them. Nelson, B.C. is one example.
“We didn’t want to be one of those cities where everyone just drives in, drives through and drives out.” Nelson councillor Valerie Warmington told the Nelson Star last year.
“We really wanted people to come into town, get out of their cars, walk around and see things, and enjoy the businesses that are here.”
While Nelson has restricted drive-throughs for several years, last year, it passed a bylaw amendment to restrict the hours for the local A & W restaurant, which is the only drive-through in the city.
Nelson wants visitors to experience Nelson beyond a roadside pit stop, or at least get out of the car and walk around. Maybe the visitors will notice it’s nice, stay longer and return.
And there’s also an impact on air quality with fewer cars idling.
Earlier this year, Tourism Revelstoke rebranded and a news release at the time declared “We’re one of the best places in the world. Period.”
One aspect that the rebranding aimed to capture was promoting Revelstoke as a destination and not a nameless stop on Highway 1.
Now, a Boston Pizza and Dairy Queen have been proposed for Revelstoke, near the Ramada Hotel. Clearly, the two businesses will aim to attract highway traffic.
While I’m particularly fond of Boston Pizza’s wings (I’m Albertan after all) and would happily bathe in a tub of Dairy Queen cakes, the two businesses do not match the rebrand.
Wouldn’t we prefer trying to convince more travellers to visit downtown Revelstoke and stop and stay awhile? Or are we growing for the sake of growing?
Perhaps we don’t know what we want.
Liam Harrap is a reporter with the Revelstoke Review.