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VIDEO: Piada Italian Street Food executive chef Matt Harding on learning from drive-thru

Piada Italian Street Food began a drive-thru pilot program during the pandemic and learned what customers crave about convenience

Like many eateries, 40-unit, fast-casual brand Piada Italian Street Food, pivoted the way they approach real estate and their physical footprint during the pandemic. Last year, Piada began a test of drive-thrus in their Cleveland market. What they learned, Senior Vice President of Culinary and Menu Innovation Matt Harding said, is that customization and convenience is key.

From reconfiguring their make lines to moving one piece of the line to the other or optimizing how they wanted their pickup window to work, anything they could do to shave off seconds from a guest experience was crucial.

“When we open up restaurants now [looking for space to put pickup windows] is the first thing we do,” Chef Harding said. “We found in fast-casual that a drive-thru is something everyone can latch on to but the pickup window works much better with the computer in your hand. Guests can order ahead, drive up, pick up their order and drive off.”

This way, he said, the experience is seamless and customers don’t have to worry about pulling up, reading a menu and having to communicate their order to a Piada employee. This cuts down on friction and order mistakes.

Watch the video below to learn more about how Piada approached their drive-thru solution over the past year.


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